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Guest Editorial

MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR

INCREASED UPTAKE OF AGED CARE IT There is no doubt that increased uptake of ICT can help support the many challenges facing the aged care industry, particularly as the implementation of consumer-directed care (CDC) begins, but there are still multiple challenges facing individual providers and the sector as a whole. However, momentum is beginning to build as advancements such as SaaS, cloud computing and mobile devices help to overcome the main barriers.

CHRIS GRAY B.Bus, MBA Managing director, iCareHealth chris.gray@icarehealth.com

About the author Chris Gray is a founding shareholder and director of iCareHealth, and managing director of the Australian business since May 2007. He oversaw the purchase of the RxRight medication management system and the electronic integration of GP records. Prior to joining iCareHealth, he was a senior executive with Dun & Bradstreet.

Over the coming decades, demographic changes will alter the dynamics of our population and significantly increase the demand on aged care services. As our ageing population increases, and the implementation of consumer-directed care (CDC) begins, the impact of the demographic change will see a greater call for complex, personalised services that support individuals and their families to live fulfilling and independent lives in their own communities.

that improve the quality of life and care experience for residents, consumers and care workers. Despite the opportunity of these benefits, the uptake of technology across the broader aged care sector has been relatively slow.

The aged care sector already faces existing financial, compliance and workforce challenges, and when combined with this increased demand on the industry, it is more important than ever that providers utilise all means possible, including ICT, in order to meet these challenges.

Irrespective of size, many providers are already operating in a revenueconstrained environment. Not surprisingly, the availability of funding to cover the investment costs of ICT is one of the most obvious challenges.

The recently released ACIITC report, Digital Care Services, recommended that providers boost their annual ICT spend from less than two per cent to four to five per cent of gross revenue, which would provide the foundations for ICT to play a key role in helping to meet the challenges faced by the aged care industry. The potential benefits of the greater use of technology in the aged care sector range from the economic benefits of reducing the cost of service and improving overall profitability, to the non-financial benefits

Therefore, what are the most common challenges that are hindering the uptake of technology within the industry?

1. Budget constraints

Whether implementing new technology for the very first time or modernising existing technologies, the capital outlay required for infrastructure, hardware, implementation, maintenance and system upgrades can seem to be unaffordable for many organisations. Understandably, when you are used to existing structures, systems and processes – even if they are inefficient – taking a step back to consider the ways to make improvements can be quite difficult. However, there are substantial gains that come with identifying issues, problems and

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Pulse+IT Magazine - May 2014  

Pulse+IT Magazine - Australasia's first and only eHealth and Health IT magazine.

Pulse+IT Magazine - May 2014  

Pulse+IT Magazine - Australasia's first and only eHealth and Health IT magazine.

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