ITAC 2022: pivotal year for digital health in aged care

2022 represents a pivotal year in IT for aged care as the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety come to fruition, federal funds finally flow for investment in IT systems to improve care provision in residential aged care, and a new government elected with promises to save the sector through massive increases in the workforce.

There has also been real progress in terms of standardisation of aged care data requirements and software solutions through the Australian Digital Health Agency, the Digital Health CRC and the Aged Care Industry IT Council (ACIITC), and a new emphasis on digitising the sector from the Department of Health.

Posted in Aged Care

Tags: ACIITC, ITAC 2022


0 # Terry Hannan 2022-07-01 12:52
It will be very interesting to see the results of this meeting and how the projects evolve. Speaking from a personal perspective I have concerns. The Electronic National Residential Medication Chart Medication Management Systems Your guide to safe implementation in residential care facilities September 2021, has a detailed set of guidelines for implementing the eNRMC. The document is extremely complex and one "almost needs a PhD to comprehend it".
Reading its contents, it outlines a lot of assumptions that must occur in an already burdened Residential Aged Care System. These relate to the need for staff training, the involvement of GPs (outside their daily practices), pharmacist integration, and the need to have consumers involved (probably near the top of importance).
I tried to conceptualise the managers of aged care facilities being presented with this documentation. I suspect that their eyes may apprehensively glaze over.

There remain beliefs that the MyHR will have a future of adaptability to health domains like aged care. I have reservations about these beliefs.
If we start working from our current functional base of Residential Aged Care, I am not sure that existing implementation models are going to work. It has the potential to cause harm and "if it does not improve the way I deliver care it will not be used." A quote from an eminent USA-based eHealth leader in the 1990s.

A final comment relates to hospital care for the aged. I am in total agreement Aged Care like Primary Care is not the same as hospital-based care. The reality is that many aged care individuals are frequent admissions to hospitals so the care processes must be integrated with and travel with the unique individual throughout their care journeys. Then individual or their primary carers must own their health information.
0 # Dawn Astles 2022-07-07 10:25
Thanks for your comments and feedback on the eNRMC implementation guides. Just to remind everyone who may be using there docs they are I tented to be a reference guides and not necessary read cover to cover. It was certainly a challenge to write these guides in such a way that they would the necessary information for whatever size facility may be implementing an eNRMC system. We certainly tried to write in a non technical style but appreciate that this would be challenging for many RACF managers would would likely need to up skill significantly before supporting an implementation. We would encourage anyone who has read or used the documents to provide their feedback around how we can improve these documents in the future revisions. I certainly hope the documents have proven useful for some in the sector, if for nothing more to understand the complexity of implentations.
+1 # SA Health staffer 2022-07-01 13:47
I would support Terry's comments re Aged Care. The Aged Care System is in crisis from a staffing perspective (who will enter this data). I have a daughter who works in this sector as a Nurse who is seriously considering leaving. Implementing an IT system will not solve the structural issues in this sector in fact it will exacerbate the problem. The multiple medicines that residents are on needs a pharmacological not an IT approach. The acute system is poorly geared for residential care patients when they turn up in Emergency and endeavours to get them out of the door as quickly as possible. The quality of GP's visiting these sites also needs to be called in question as the equivalent of home visits is fast disappearing ( something Telehealth will also not solve). Finally when you pay aged care workers at below retail rates per hour, the only reason they manage to retain any staff is, passion for the patient and IT solution will solve these issues....perha ps the next time a Royal Commission is called ( way more frequent these days for all matter of things) the money should be spent on the sector in question, rather than going to the legal fraternity and bureaucrats.

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