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Technology an important enabler for aged care, says Colbeck


The utilisation of technology and data are soon going to play a huge role in managing and monitoring aged care, the sector’s minister has told an industry conference.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck gave the welcoming address at the Health Metrics 2019 World Conference in Melbourne yesterday. 

He said innovation and the use of technology were going to be extremely important enablers in the aged care industry over the next few years. 

Richard Colbeck

“The utilisation of IT, I think, is going to play a huge role in how we manage and monitor this sector going forward,” Mr Colbeck told the conference.

He said the work that Health Metrics and others did in the provision of IT in the aged care sector were going to be increasingly important.

“There is so much data out there at the moment… but we don’t utilise it and we don’t manage it,” Mr Colbeck said. 

He said the challenge was how to effectively and efficiently gather the data and then utilise it best for managing the industry and the interests of aged care residents and clients.

It will require focusing some of the available resources to managing the overall system in the places needed so the rest of the resources can then be effectively directed towards provision of care, Mr Colbeck said.

“They are the sorts of questions that I am asking myself … They are questions that are going to have some sort of answer by the time we get to the end of the royal commission process.”

The findings of the royal commission will create an expectation and industry and government need to be ready when that time arrives, he said.  

Elsewhere Mr Colbeck said the royal commission was putting the spotlight on all aspects of the sector and there was a risk it would create a negative perception of the sector. 

“We need to change that perception about what this industry provides,” he said.

“We want people to be comfortable making a choice to go into an aged care facility because it will provide them the quality of life that they are looking for and the services that they are looking for.

“And then of course we need to design the system to make sure that it does that.”

Mr Colbeck said the sector was going to have to get used to more change including more significant change over the next 18 months, largely driven by the royal commission process.

“When they bring down their draft report in October we will have to be as a government in a position to respond to what we anticipate what might be coming through there. 

“But so will everybody else.”

It is an issue for all stakeholders and requires working together, he said.

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One Response to Technology an important enabler for aged care, says Colbeck

  1. Stacey Masters August 30, 2019 at 3:58 pm #

    Immediate attention is required to enable accurate identification of aged care residents who are treated in the emergency department +/- admitted to hospital. Only then can we systematically examine the interface between aged care and hospitals and develop care pathways that are responsive to the clinical needs and preferences of this population.

    One example is the need to better understand how the various systems of care interact to provide comfort and dignity at the end of life, including aged care, community palliative care and hospitals. Without an understanding of how care is provided at this critical time, we are not well placed to improve care.

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