Technology should be embedded in aged care operations and services and reflected in the quality standards, the sector’s technology peak has told the aged care royal commission.
Technology can improve the quality and safety of aged care and is key to fulfilling all eight of the quality standards, the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council said in its submission to the inquiry.
The growing array of technology-based responses to ageing is not reflected in current aged care funding, policy or service design from point of entry onwards, the ACIITC said in its submission.
“Unless technology is an embedded feature of aged care, reflected in the Aged Care Quality Standards by which it is assessed, the priorities underlying funding, the design of workforce roles and workforce training, and the configuration of services, its potential to provide better care and better quality of life will be lost,” the ACIITC said.
ACIITC independent chair George Margelis said the council was keen to work with government to develop a strategic roadmap for funding and investing in information and care technologies for the aged care sector.
“The ACIITC believes that closer collaboration between government and providers, through the ACiiTC, to develop and implement a strategic roadmap for innovation and enhanced uptake of technology is essential,” Dr Margelis said.
The ACIITC’s submission was informed by consultations with its CIO and home care committees and the research-informed Technology Roadmap for Ageing Care in Australia, which was launched in June 2017 and undergoing a research review in 2019.
The submission highlights key issues affecting the quality of aged care and the underutilisation of technology in addressing them.
It looks at technology-enhanced quality of care provision, such as monitoring, surveillance and other technology to monitor chronic disease, detect falls, manage medication, and support people with dementia.
It recommends a range of strategies including commonwealth and state government-funded demonstration pilots, incentives for technology adoption and including the roles of technology and innovation in the sector’s quality standards.
The submission also explores technology infrastructure underpinning care provision and business operations and highlights under-developed integrated service provision and the absence of interoperability provisions.
The ACIITC is recommending the development of agreed standards and protocols to support the increasingly interconnected operating environment and that existing digital standards be adapted for aged care.
It has also reiterated calls for a national data exchange and reporting hub to support providers with advanced business intelligence, analytics and reporting capabilities.
The ACIITC said it was critical that technology and innovation were embedded features throuhgout the sector, not an after-thought.
“The ACiiTC’s vision is for aged care organisations to provide leadership on fit-for-purpose technology and innovation that supports quality care, greater consumer participation and direction of their care and support, safety, and more effective and efficient service delivery.”
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