The aged care technology council is working with the health department on a roadmap to improve the digital maturity of the aged care industry, a forum has heard. 

The Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council was funded by the Department of Health to undertake a three-month project to evaluate the sector’s technology capabilities and readiness.

The Capabilities in Aged and Community Care Readiness an Evaluation of Innovation and Technology (CARE-IT) report, which was made public in November, made nine recommendations to achieve a more sustainable and high-quality industry (read more here).  

ACIITC National Home Care Group chair Anne Livingstone said the council has been focused on promoting the report’s recommendations since June when it was handed to the department.

“The council has been working consistently and regularly meeting with the Department of Health key players in this area, and we’ve been working towards developing a roadmap or a game plan to see the realisation of those nine recommendations,” Ms Livingstone told the ACIITC National Forum on Tuesday.

Anne Livingstone

The report calls for the development of a two-stage strategic plan and investing in an industry innovation fund to support integration of technology and innovation.

Other recommendations include an investment in a nationally coordinated innovation and technology series to promote digital maturity for the sector and a review of the current service standards through a technology and innovation lens.

Ms Livingstone said the council is working with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on the inclusion of technology within the Aged Care Quality Standards to generate real-time data reporting.

She said the ACIITC’s role now is to ensure the recommendations in the report are realised.

“We’re taking deep dives into some of the data that we’ve got in CARE-IT and some of that is going to lead hopefully to new projects. We’re working with colleagues… from the Digital Health CRC and the Australian Digital health agency to recognise the great improvements that can be made by the greater uptake of technology and innovation in the sector,” she said.

ACIITC considering Counsel Assisting’s recommendations

Ms Livingstone said the ACIITC is particularly interested in four recommendations Counsel Assisting the royal commission made that align with the council’s agenda.

Those recommendations call for:

  • a dedicated research council (recommendation 55)
  • universal adoption by the aged care sector of digital technology and the My Health Record (recommendation 74)
  • services to be funded through a combination of block and activity-based funding (recommendation 87)
  • fees for social supports, assistive technology and home modifications (recommendation 94).

Ms Livingstone said the ACIITC has embarked on a series of intensive work with the ADHA on better aligning aged care with the My Health Record.

“Shortly, we’ll be announcing a number of national forums where we hope to engage with you in the in the industry and vendors also specifically about how we could fast track the uptake of My Health Record. We’ve got ambitious goals of 100 per cent uptake in a very short period of time,” she said.

On the other recommendations, Ms Livingstone said funding issues have hindered the uptake of assistive technology.

“Having funding mechanisms in which people can incorporate technology at higher levels, or in a much more universal way is something that the council is working very hard to achieve,” she said.

“It’s with those four recommendations that we’ve been really drilling down on the research work that we’ve been undertaking, and also looking at the new opportunities for research to inform those agendas,” she said.

The royal commission is due to hand down its final report 26 February.

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