By Darragh O’Keeffe and Natasha Egan
The Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) is calling on the Federal Government to assist the sector in adopting information communications technology (ICT) so aged services can meet the rapidly increasing demand for care.
The council, in conjunction with Accenture, developed an ‘ICT Vision’ that outlined how the adoption of ICT could create sustainable aged care services, which Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews launched at Parliament House on Monday.
The ICT Vision outlined key areas that need to be prioritised, which include eHealth, telehealth and mobility, care management, management information and reporting, and core technology and support.
ACIITC said that $10 million would enable a plan to implement enhanced ICT services across the sector.
Launching the ICT Vision, Mr Andrews said the government recognised that with Australia’s ageing population, demand for aged care services would increase and the sector needed to adapt new and innovative means of delivering care.
While not announcing any new funding, the minister said that home care package funding could be used for innovative and digital technology, while funding was being provided under the Better Healthcare Connections program to support GP consultations via video conferencing.
Mr Andrews also said the My Aged Care website would be expanded to include a “client record capability” which was being constructed with the intention that it would be linked to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.
“The government believes that empowering the industry is best achieved through working with the industry, to develop an approach centered on enhancing care quality and productivity whilst ensuring high quality services,” said Mr Andrews.
Blueprint for innovation
LASA CEO Patrick Reid described the ICT vision as the blueprint that would underpin the future of sector-wide advances.
“The consequences of not meeting the demand now and in the future is intergenerational pain as families and the community grapple with an increasing cohort of frail elderly people with more complex care needs,” he told the launch.
ACSA said the universal deployment of ICT systems could effectively reduce this predicted growth to comfortably justify the investment.“Providers are always looking for better ways to manage their workforce to give the highest quality care to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people, our elderly who need care. IT investment maximises the opportunity for innovation in the way services are delivered,” it said.
Kenn Wheatland, 82, from Wollongong, who was part of a home-based health monitoring program, told the launch that ICT had improved his quality of life and his health knowledge.
Further analysis and coverage of the ICT Vision launch will be carried in the upcoming AAA Technology Review Issue 6.