How baby boomers are driving aged care’s digital transformation

With boomers entering aged care, there’s an opportunity for digital transformation, but it’s not without risks.

Between the Royal Commission and COVID-19, there’s been a renewed focus on digital transformation in the aged care sector. And with the baby boomer generation heading into aged care, the implications will have a lasting effect on the industry.

Today’s aged care demographics

For too long, the aged care industry was driven by the facilities and not consumers. Technology and digitising care weren’t considered priorities. But that’s rapidly changing. The people entering aged care today are educated, have money to spend, and aren’t satisfied with what is currently on offer—and that means change is coming.

On the heels of the Royal Commission recommendations, which emphasised better staffing, a universal right to high quality care, and a streamlined, coordinated system, aged care is shifting to a more consumer-led market, with increased expectations to dramatically improve the client experience.

For aged care centres to remain competitive, making changes that lead to improved outcomes for residents, their families, and employees will be key. Technology will be at the helm, driving transformation and allowing facilities to provide a sustainable level of care while using digital to create a better experience for all.

Digital no longer a “nice to have”

During COVID lockdowns, we saw how critical technology was in helping aged care residents feel connected. Going forward, features like video calling in patient rooms, AV-equipped staff rooms, and doctor’s offices fitted out for telehealth appointments will be the norm. Residents and their family members expect to communicate with each other and care providers when and how they want. It’s no longer necessary for family members to have to trek into an office to join a consult with their loved one, for instance, when they can easily join via video.

Networks that can support assistive tech like safety-related sensors are increasingly important, as is collecting and analysing data to make better, more informed decisions about consumer care. Of course, data security is a major concern for all care providers, including aged care, as healthcare data is some of the most sought-after information on the dark web. Having systems in place that protect consumer data is paramount. While savvy aged care facilities already have these in place, many are still at the beginning of this journey.

Managing risks

The considerations that aged care facilities must take into account before embarking on their digital transformation plans are many and can be overwhelming, and any type of transformation requires a significant investment in money and resources.

Success will come from having a clear understanding of where your business is currently, where you want it to go, and what you want to achieve. Without a transparent timeline, roadmap, and end goal, there’s a real risk of failure. Planning is key, and a partner like Vocus, who can help guide you through the process and milestones, is especially helpful.

The drive for transformation may be coming from boomers, but it’s an impetus that the sector desperately needed. The time has arrived for aged care to harness technology and digital tools to improve service and care, and ultimately deliver a better experience for consumers and their families. After all, isn’t that what aged care is all about?

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