Digital Health Privacy and Age: Quality and Safety Improvement in Long-Term-Care
17 Indiana Health Law Review 85 (2020)
15 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2020 Last revised: 21 Apr 2021
Date Written: February 26, 2020
Delivering basic and fundamental community-based, long-term care in the private home and the local community is less costly than providing it in an institution; however, it still faces impediments such as workforce challenges, rising costs, and concerns with the increasing prevalence of elder abuse. As the population ages and the number of older Americans managing multiple chronic conditions grows, it is essential to develop additional resources to provide sustainable community-based, long-term care.
Sensor monitoring technologies provide a promising avenue for improving access to such care, with developers making major breakthroughs in the provision of long-term care at both senior residential facilities and directly in the home. We are seeing a growth in the use of sensors to reduce staffing, enable older adults to have a greater degree of self-management, and manage overall costs. The advantages of sensor monitoring technology are not, however, without their risks: the necessary trade-offs between innovation and privacy are heightened when applied to an older population where decreased cognitive function plays a larger role. While there is emerging scholarship on sensor privacy concerns in health care and for patient data sharing, there is limited literature that explores sensor privacy and consent practices for these devices by seniors in long-term care settings. This Article is dedicated to the forward-looking insights generated by Professor Eleanor Kinney to improve quality and safety in community-based, long-term care and investigates how the use of sensor technology can be optimally integrated with privacy protections to support this goal.
Keywords: long-term care, sensor monitoring, privacy, health care, patient data sharing, sensor consent, privacy protections
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