Embrace AI, providers told

Artificial intelligence will enable the sector to lift its game.

Artificial intelligence will be a great benefit to the aged care sector, according to an industry expert.

Robert Covino

Appearing on a webinar hosted by Australian Ageing Agenda last week, Rob Covino – founder of aged care consultancy Mirus Australia – said:  “AI can help us. It can provide us with performance improvement that a lot of businesses around the world are starting to benefit from. It will augment a lot of tasks with a lot of skilled understanding.”

Moderated by Natasha Egan – editor of Australian Ageing Agenda and Community Care Review – the 90-minute discussion, entitled Deep Dive into Aged Care Digital Transformation, and which can be viewed here, touched upon a number of topics including AI.  

Mr Covino said, while AI may appear to be something out of science fiction, the technology is here and now, and easily accessible to most people. “It feels like such a distant future but everyone would have it in their back pocket on their phone, whether it be Copilot or ChatGPT.”

AI, he added, will assist providers in a variety of ways. “For our industry it’s about lifting the game, lifting that performance, augmenting those tasks and also catching more risks than human eyes and quality teams would see because that’s the power of AI – it sees patterns or information in a way that human beings don’t.”

Mr Covino said the technology will enable providers to make efficiencies. “It will have tangible benefits like reducing 30 per cent of effort in a task or it can review 6,000 residents for AN-ACC insights.”

Gary McDonald

Also on the panel, Gary McDonald – senior account manager at software vendor Epicor. “From a software company’s point of view, AI is rearing its head in manufacturing now in distribution. So aged care is a natural progression to that.”

But Mr McDonald queried its usefulness to the sector. “You can have AI and it’s a nice technology but is it really going to attack that particular area of your business where you are going to see some benefit?” he asked.

“We work with ChatGPT with Microsoft. Great AI tools – but now you have to put a business application in place. And that’s the challenge for the software companies.”

The panel discussed a variety of topics, including AI
George Margelis

George Margelis – independent chair of the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council – told the online audience, when it comes to the sector’s use of AI, it will be a case of hit and miss.

“We’re throwing AI at everything and somewhere it’s going to stick and some places it isn’t. In five years’ time we’re going to be able to look back and say, ‘Well, we tried AI in multiple areas in aged care, here’s where it worked, here’s where it didn’t.’”

One thing is for sure, said Dr Margelis, AI is a thrilling technology. “It’s exciting times. I really support the fact that we’re working with it, but we need to make valued decisions about what worked and what didn’t.”

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Tags: AI, artificial intelligence, deep dive into aged care digital transformation, gary mcdonald, george margelis, Robert Covino, webinar,

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