Providers can benefit from using an evidence-based framework that helps predict and evaluate the success of a technology in aged care settings before they implement it, an expert tells Australian Ageing Agenda.

Bolton Clarke Research Institute senior research fellow Dr Liz Cyarto said it was important for aged care providers to take steps to understand what they want from a new technology implementation and the likely outcomes.

She said providers need to ask themselves:

  • Do you have a reason for doing it?
  • What is the end benefit?
  • What is it going to cost you?
  • How are you going to scale up and make it available across all of your care homes?

She recommends providers utilise the non-adoption, abandonment, scale-up, spread and sustainability framework (NASSS), which is an evidence-based tool to help predict and evaluate the success of technology in health and aged care settings.

Liz Cyarto

“NASSS gives you a very strategic and systemised way of looking at what you want to deploy or employ, making sure that it is providing the right product for the right time for the right people,” Dr Cyarto told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Dr Cyarto is presenting the ITAC conference next month about lessons learnt from implementing technology in aged care including Bolton Clarke’s implementation of a video consultation program.

The program involved a clinical nurse consultant using Skype for Business to video call field nurses during home visits when a client had something beyond the scope of a general nurse and required a consultation, such as for a complex wound.

Dr Cyarto said they experienced several challenges, mainly due to poor reliability of the Skype application and calls dropping out.

“The nurses didn’t have the confidence if the call dropped, they couldn’t hear the nurses on the other end, or they couldn’t see the client’s wound well. It was easier to just talk on the mobile,” she said.

After a year of trying to make the video consultation program work, the clinicians and nurses loss confidence in it and “they slowly abandoned use of it,” Dr Cyarto said.

The program transitioned to an in-home monitoring system for retirement living residents and home care clients, she said.

Dr Cyarto said not enough was done to assess the implementation including the reliability of Skype for Business and the ability of staff to use the program and troubleshoot problems.

“The idea of the clinical nurse consultants training the field nurses was good on paper, but it ended up being more difficult, especially if they came across [an issue] on Skype that was beyond their understanding.”

“That didn’t work as well as we anticipated,” she said.

Dr Cyarto plans to revisit the video consultation program using another video application and the NASSS framework to inform the likely success of the project.

The key is to ensure technology adds value, she said.

“We want to be able to ensure that if residents and clients want technology, that we have it available for them.

“But we also need to make sure it’s right for them and not just a shiny dangly thing that ends up in the closet after it fails or not used,” Dr Cyarto said.

The ITAC 2020 conference takes place at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane on 3 – 4 March.

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