A fund jointly resourced by government and aged care organisations to help providers develop and buy technology to integrate into care services is among initiatives proposed in a sector technology plan launched by Minister Ken Wyatt today.
The Technology Roadmap for Aged Care is an initiative of the Aged Care Industry IT Company developed in conjunction with a team from the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University, which was appointed in November to undertake a literature review and scoping study.
The roadmap tells the sector how to make technology a core part of aged operations and service delivery and the action needed in the short, medium and long term to address ICT-related shortcomings across key areas including operations, care, information and workforce.
Proposed action includes collaboration with government departments to embed technology capability as a requirement of aged care service delivery and work to facilitate connections across aged care systems.
Other initiatives in the roadmap include:
- a network linking consumers, providers and technology developers to support co-design
- a series of pilots demonstrating how to extend telehealth in aged care and share data with health, and
- a national digital literacy strategy for consumers.
The roadmap also recommends trialling ways of embedding technology expertise in assessment and care planning, developing a national workforce technology development strategy and including questions on technological readiness in the national aged care workforce census.
Most of the roadmap’s proposals are prioritised for short term action – one to two years – to address an urgent identified need for technological change and many have follow up action suggested for the following three to seven years.
Aligns with broader reform blueprint
The structure of the technology plan aligns with Aged Care Roadmap developed by the Aged Care Sector Committee.
The technology roadmap has been designed to fit perfectly into the reform process, said ACIitC chair Glenn Bunney.
“We are hoping that as the Aged Care Roadmap progresses and goes through government policy that the technology will go along with it as well,” Mr Bunney told Australian Ageing Agenda ahead of the launch.
— Australian Ageing Agenda (@AustAgeAgenda) June 13, 2017
Similarly, he said it is intended that aged care providers look at the two roadmaps together.
“It will hopefully get an individual provider asking questions of themselves about their preparedness and how to implement the technology in the roadmap.”
Mr Bunney said an enabled workforce and government support were two key areas linked to improving aged care technology for operations and service delivery.
Government support needed: peaks
The ACIitC and aged care peaks Leading Age Services Australia and Aged and Community Services Australia have repeated their calls for Commonwealth funding to help facilitate IT uptake in aged care.
“The government has recognised across a number of portfolios that technology costs money and sometimes they need to assist us to do that and they have done that in the past,” Mr Bunney said.
“There will be costs associated with going down this path and that is a culmination of the industry, the customer and the government to try to meet those costs.”
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