Big data and wearables top the technologies set to transform aged care and all providers should be investing in innovation in this space, according to an aged care executive.

These disruptive technologies offer aged care providers better and more accurate information about care needs as well as support a prevention model, said Jason Eldering, general manager care at aged care and retirement living provider Aveo.

“Big data and wearables are where the future is going to lie – not only to get better health outcomes but to also promote wellness,” Mr Eldering told Australian Ageing Agenda ahead of his appearance at the upcoming ITAC conference.

Mr Eldering said avoiding unnecessary hospitalisation was one area of potential and big data and wearables, such as TGA  approved devices for blood pressure monitoring and activity trackers, could be used in conjunction with GP-led care plans and allied health professional support to assist aged care help clients meet mobility targets, for example.

“The wearables will really help us understand our residents, how much they are moving or not moving. Wellness is really at the heart of it; we need to move away from a clinical-based model to a wellness and enablement model,” he said.

The key message for providers was to continue to research and understand the potential of disruptive technology, Mr Eldering said.

“[Providers] really need to invest in this innovation space … and to look at a research and development component within their business and resource it appropriately.”

For smaller providers, collaboration was the key – and industry partners needed to be a lead as well, he said.

“It is trying to get the bite size pieces for smaller providers and identifying what can be done today, then taking it and making it work.”

While much was still emerging, he said he had seen world-leading innovation in this space including a pilot system that collected big data via wearables that monitored activity and vital signs, and alerted health professionals via a stepped approach.

“At the basic level, the PCA/AIN gets alerted about the resident not doing prescribed activity. If repeated over the next day or two an alert is sent to a registered nurse who comes down and looks at the plan and what’s happening with the resident’s clinical needs. Then if it goes to the next level, the GP is alerted. What you end up with is a multi-disciplinary process that supports the person and stops that hospitalisation,” he said.

Mr Eldering said Aveo was running a number of trials and pilots and that the research and development component of big data was a major focus for them.

“We keep looking at that and saying what does that mean for our business and residents. At the centre of this is consumer directed care, which is going into residential aged care as well.”

The ITAC conference runs 28-30 November in Melbourne.

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