By 2030, people 65 and older are projected to account for 20% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012); by 2017 over 70% of disposable income in the U.S. will be in the hands of those over 60 years old (World Economic Forum, 2015). Rapidly emerging technological advances hold great potential for people to navigate the social, cognitive and physical changes associated with aging (President's Council on Advisors on Science and Technology, 2016). Technological advances also have potential to substantially alter workforce needs to care for aging Americans and mitigate growth in workforce demand due to the aging population.
This report addresses how technological advances will affect the size, skills, and training needs of the workforce required to care for aging Americans and assesses whether and how these technologies may facilitate; replace; or enhance recruitment, training, and retention of the LTC workforce. Knowledge derived from this study will begin to bridge the gap between understanding how technology is changing healthcare vs. the health workforce.
- What types of technologies have been developed with an application in long-term care?
- How might various categories of technology in long-term care affect the existing and future workforce needs?
- What are some specific examples of the impact of technology on the long-term care workforce?
For questions, contact: Susan Chapman, [email protected].
Rapidly emerging technological advances have the potential to mitigate a portion of the rising workforce demand due to an aging population and the increasing chronic disease burden. A new study, "The Impact of Emerging Technologies on Long-Term Care & the Health Workforce", published by the UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-term Care and authored by Susan Chapman, RN, PhD, Jacqueline Miller, BA, and Joanne Spetz, PhD has added to the emerging evidence on how technological advances will affect the size, skills, and training needs of the workforce required to care for aging Americans. The authors created a taxonomy of currently available and emerging technology categories based on the products sold by a total of 115 companies and report this overview along with targeted interviews with tech company personnel. The report assesses which of the technologies may facilitate, replace, or enhance recruitment, training, and retention of the LTC workforce.
Results at this point suggest that the technology will not fully replace the direct care workforce in the near future, and is not likely to mitigate the workforce shortage. Potential barriers to widespread adoption of an expanding number of new products and services include consumer concern about privacy and the security of health data, usability, and cost; potential differences in product specificity or acceptance among diverse racial and ethnic groups; and lack of internet connectivity in many rural areas.
The authors conclude that there is distinct opportunity for emerging LTC technologies to enhance quality of life for patients, assist friend/family caregivers, and improve workforce efficiencies. Despite interest among these stakeholders, there is minimal reimbursement for these technologies by federal and private payers.