A new white paper has urged the Commonwealth Government to use its investment in broadband infrastructure to boost IT uptake in aged care.

The report from KPMG and Church Resources said the government had the opportunity to develop visionary plans for the sector.

According to the paper, aged care providers are in urgent need of support to implement and run sophisticated IT systems.

It noted that the majority of Australian aged care facilities use a minimal level of technology.

“Typically, a small number of unconnected computers are shared across an entire facility,” the report said.

“Often, staff are not proficient at using them to their full capacity, furthermore many residents have limited or no access to computers.”

KPMG’s Digital Business Partner, Malcolm Alder, said the findings demonstrate that technology and IT infrastructure have the ability to revolutionise aged care.

“In an era when broadband and related technologies have revolutionised how we do so many things – work, entertainment, shopping and mobile communications – this report demonstrates that the time has come for the aged care sector to catch-up,” he said.

The report found that the biggest barriers to the implementation of IT in aged care included the lack of integration, insufficient management support, poor funding and outdated equipment.

It recommended that as well as tapping into the government’s $43 billion national broadband network, the sector should consider collective purchasing and outsourcing.

Church Resources, ConnectCare Program Manager, Con Koulouris, said aged care providers would benefit significantly from a greater uptake of technology.

“By adopting technological advances, the sector can provide a tangible and substantial boost to the level of productivity and efficiency, from the way that meals are prepared to the way clinical care is delivered to residents – in both a medical and lifestyle sense,” he said.

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