Gero - Informatics

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Description:

Gero-Informatics is the specialization of health informatics that pertains to geriatrics. Geriatrics is a field of medicine that specializes in the care of older patients. The field of Gero-Informatics is the development, application, and study of HIT for the elderly. This includes but is not limited to EMRs and EHRs. The idea of Gero-Informatics is to help older patients recieve the proper care by making use of the technology available today from help over the internet and through email to modifying things already available such as EMRs or EHRs to include fields more specific to older patients such as preferences for care, caregivers information, mental health, and a living will.

Whereas gerontechnology refers to "matching technological environments to health, housing, mobility, communication, leisure and work of older people", gero-informatics is more of a concern with the role of information, information systems, and information technology in geriatric medicine and geriatrics care. It includes some aspects of electronic health records, personal health records, and telehealth.
Gero-informatics is basically connected with HIT, but focuses on areas of informatics that are specific to geriatrics. This is necessary, because the implementation of clinical informatics at many medical institutions have often excluded, or incorrectly addressed, information about their elderly patients. For example, electronic health records infrequently have comprehensive ways to represent the following kinds of data.
I. Advance directives - A living will, also called will to live, is one type of advance health directive, or advance health care directive. It is often accompanied by a specific type of power of attorney or health care proxy. These are legal instruments that are usually witnessed or notarized.
· A living will usually covers specific directives as to the course of treatment that is to be taken by caregivers, or, in some cases forbidding treatment and sometimes also food and water, should the principal be unable to give informed consent ("individual health care instruction") due to incapacity.
· A power of attorney for health care appoints an individual (a proxy) to direct health care decisions should the principal be unable to do so.
As the name suggests, the term "will to live", as opposed to the other terms, tends to emphasize the wish to live as long as possible rather than refusing treatment in the case of serious conditions.
In the United States, however, most states recognize living wills or the designation of a health care proxy. However, a "report card" which is issued by the “Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2002 concluded that only seven out of the fifty states deserved an "A" for meeting the standards of the model Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.
II. Physical functional status
III. Cognitive status
IV. Patients' preferences for care
V. Key information about caregivers
In addition, better clinical decision support is needed to address routine preventive and medical care of older adults.
Applications:
Remote Monitoring
TeleHealth

Web Resources:
http://www.americangeriatrics.org/
http://iucar.iu.edu/gocar/
http://www.feebly.org/Advance_directives/encyclopedia.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Rights_of_the_Terminally_Ill_Act
http://www.strengthforcaring.com/manual/about-you-the-caregiver-role/caregiving-skills/</span>
Related Terminology:
EMR
EHR
Geriatrics
Health Informatics
HIT Caregiving


Citations/References:
http://geriatrics.indiana.edu/geroinformatics/flyer/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gero-Informatics

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