Sharing stories of successful aged care technology rollouts can help reduce fears among other providers looking to adopt new technologies, an industry forum has heard.
Aged care stakeholders discussed how to drive technology adoption in the sector and the lessons learnt of moving towards virtual care and integrating data and systems at the Driving to connected care: What’s next in health and aged care webinar on Tuesday.
Seigi Schmidaier, executive director, strategic development and partnerships at tech-savy home aged care provider Silver Chain Group, said buying or building an electronic record system was a huge and risky investment for organisations.
“I think better track record on implementation successes and learning about those successes would reduce a bit of fear,” Ms Schmidaier told the webinar on Tuesday.
She said government support and incentives “would be helpful” to reduce the perceived risk too.
The people side of change management is one of the biggest barriers providers face when adopting new technologies so it is important to include all stakeholders, Ms Schmidaier said.
“At the moment we’re looking at changing one legacy system to another. It’s a six month project and I’ve got to invest a couple of million dollars in change management and project management. The software itself is by comparison inexpensive and doable, but it’s the time and the effort.
“You’ve got to take frontline workers away from their day jobs to make sure the systems and processes from the old one are correctly mapped to the new ways of working and take people along the journey to embrace that new way of working,” Ms Schmidaier said.
Before that, the board has a key role in assessing the risks to business interruption when changing technology systems, she said.
“Everyone takes that really seriously and no one wants to invest tens of millions of dollars in a change and be unsure about it. Certainly one of the top things on the board agenda is digital risk and continuity risk,” Ms Schmidaier said.
Technology that makes a difference
Aged Care Industry and Information Technology Council chair Dr George Margelis said the ubiquitous use of technology was key to making a difference in the aged care sector.
“It’s not so much the technology, but it’s the application of the technology and the on-the-ground solutions that are developed that utilise technology,” Dr Margelis told the webinar.
“Once the technology becomes passé and becomes part of the normal infrastructure, then you start seeing really exciting innovations.”
Dr Margelis said the use of 3D cameras to document wounds and the many innovative ways to use artificial intelligence were examples of technology applications making a difference.
Evidence-based technology key to uptake
The webinar also heard from Digital Health CRC senior consultant Dr Isobel Frean, who said aged care technology must be evidence-based to increase its uptake.
“It comes back down to anything that’s going to translate and prevail has to be supported by an evidence base,” Dr Frean said.
“That may sound so obvious but it is important to state that once the evidence around the safety and the clinical validity of a technology advance is known [and] we understand it is going to be accepted and impact consumers and clinicians, we are looking at the quantitative evidence around efficiency,” she said.
“Is it generating cost savings for providers and users? Can it create an increased revenue stream for the provider?”
The Driving to connected care: What’s next in health and aged care webinar, run by the Australasian Institute of Digital Health and the ACIITC, took place on 29 June.