JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Gaps, disconnections, and discontinuities--the role of information exchange in the delivery of quality long-term care.

Gerontologist 2013 October
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The smart use of information and communication technologies (ICT) is widely seen as a means of enhancing the quality of aged care services. One of the barriers to ICT diffusion in aged care is the failure to cater for the complex and interdisciplinary requirements of the aged care environment. The aim of this qualitative study was to identify the layers of information exchange and communication and produce a conceptual model that can help to inform decisions related to the design, implementation, and sustainability of ICT.

DESIGN AND METHODS: A qualitative study conducted in 2010 within seven Australian residential aged care facilities. It included 11 focus groups involving 47 staff and 54 individual interviews and observation sessions.

RESULTS: The analysis of work processes identified key information exchange components related to the type of information (residential, clinical, and administrative) that is collected, stored, and communicated. This information relies on a diverse number of internal and external communication channels that are important for the organization of care.

IMPLICATIONS: The findings highlight potential areas of communication dysfunction as a consequence of structural holes, fragmentation, or disconnections that can adversely affect the continuity and coordination of care, its safety, and quality.

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