Provider experimenting with AI

ECH chief Claire Scapinello shares her organisation’s early steps into using generative artificial intelligence to reduce administrative burden.

When it comes to using generative artificial intelligence in aged care, providers should be both excited and cautious, experts have told an industry conference.

Generative artificial intelligence is AI capable of generating text in response to prompts and based on its learnings from input data so the text has the desired characteristics.

South Australian home aged care and retirement living provider ECH is in the early stages of trialling its use to cut time spent on administration, chief executive officer Claire Scapinello told the Australian Healthcare Week expo on Thursday.

She talked about the goal of reducing 45-minute tasks to five minutes and being able to put more focus on care as a result. Due to the expense and importance – including with data privacy – strong policies on how AI is used that includes appropriate training for staff are essential, Ms Scapinello said during the panel discussion on how AI, technology and policy innovation will transform aged care.

Joining her on the panel, Aged Care Industry IT Council independent chair George Margelis, who agreed on the need for strong policies and stressed the importance of being careful. Providers should “walk before you run”.

On where AI could make the biggest impact, Dr Margelis suggested areas like compliance reporting, streamlining payroll, rostering and supply chains, and complaints handling to save costs and “free up resources for the pointy end of what you are doing.” But not front of house.

A good data culture is critical, he told delegates. “If we take poor quality data and put it through AI you will get a poor outcome,” he warned.

Ms Scapinello agreed. “The better the question, the better the answer.”

Speaking with Australian Ageing Agenda after the session, Ms Scapinello said AI had the potential to automate current repetitive tasks in aged care and give teams more time to care and holistically look at older people in a faster way. In the video below, she shares:

  • what excites her about AI in aged care
  • where ECH is trialling the technology
  • the potential risks identified and how they are addressing them.

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Tags: aciitc, AHW 2024, AI, artificial intelligence, claire scapinello, ech, george margelis, Julianne Parkinson,

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