As the population has grown older, funding packages have become more competitive and the home care sector has boomed, aged care providers are looking to technology to enhance their clinical governance and financial sustainability, writes Chris Gray.
Only 10 years ago there was a perception throughout the health sector that aged care providers were unwilling to embrace new technology. It seemed that while other areas of the health industry were advancing, aged care providers were cautious in adopting technology.
Today, this perception no longer stands. In order to be competitive and provide a high standard of quality care, many aged care providers have embraced assistive technologies and software solutions. In fact, it is now estimated that 80 per cent of Australian aged care providers utilise a clinical and care management software solution.
There are more ways that aged care providers can leverage technology to provide high quality care and stay ahead of the competition.
Look for connected eHealth solutions
Innovative software vendors are now connecting aged care providers with the wider health care sector. By utilising a connected eHealth solution, aged care providers will have access to an individual’s full medical and care profile; with information from their GP, hospital and pharmacy. This level of data will help providers create efficiencies, deliver informed and high quality care, and reduce common problems, such as medical errors.
Download assistive apps for care staff
There are a number of effective apps on the market designed to assist residential aged care and home care staff. From activity and heart rate monitors, through to advice on how to keep consumers safe around their home. Many apps are free or can be purchased for a small cost, so it’s worthwhile having a look around for one to suit your organisation’s needs.
Utilise software to reduce medication errors
A 2012 NEHTA report revealed that one in five medical errors is due to incomplete patient medication information. By using an effective medication management software system, aged care providers are able to significantly reduce medication errors and eliminate missed signatures. This option has gained significant traction in the last few years, with around one quarter of Australian aged care providers now utilising a medication management software solution.
Promote your organisation via social media
With almost two billion people active on social media around the world, aged care providers can no longer ignore the marketing benefits. By promoting your organisation through social media, prospective care recipients and their families are able to get an insight into your organisation and whether it will be the right fit for them. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ create an additional, free promotional source that users can access at the click of a button.
Partner with innovative vendors
Aged care providers have not only embraced technology, they are now using it to innovate and differentiate their care services. It is essential that aged care providers partner with technology vendors that offer solutions that are collaborative, cutting edge and can help providers be progressive in a competitive market.
Prepare for future changes
The aged care sector is one of the largest growth industries in the country. As a result, providers are delivering individualised and efficient care in order to stay ahead of the competition. Technology will be essential in helping to provide high quality care to older Australians, well into the future.
Chris Gray is the managing director of residential and home care management software provider iCareHealth.
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