TECHNOLOGY AS A TOOL TO KEEP PEOPLE AT HOME
RDNS has nearly 130 years’ experience in the provision of home healthcare, and its growing range of services reflect the challenges of an ageing population and increased rates of chronic disease. RDNS has taken a leadership role in using technology for the past 20 years to improve access to care in the home as part of this changing aged care environment.
JEFF CARSON B App Sci, MACS CIO, RDNS
Investment in information technology at RDNS is playing a vital part in support of quality healthcare for our clients in their homes, as well as an improved care management experience for families and clients. Technologically, RDNS has always sought to be a leader and take advantage of emerging technologies. Our telehealth activities are linked via the central hub of our Customer Service Centre and our services now comprise the provision of home care across Australia, thus responding to the needs of people who are increasingly wishing to remain in their own homes to receive services. RDNS sees telehealth and telecare as a key aspect of our response to the increasing demand for quality, cost‑effective services. RDNS is essentially developing a technological ecosystem through which required support can be brought to a client in the quickest and most effective manner, without compromising clinical quality or a sense of personal connection.
About the author Jeff Carson is CIO of RDNS. His experience includes senior executive positions at Baptcare and CitiPower, and he is also known for his work on Port of Melbourne projects. Jeff specialises in the application of ICT in support of business transformation, and he sits on the ACIITC CIO steering committee.
Different situations demand different modes of care and with telehealth, this may not always mean home visits only. It may be more appropriate to connect a RDNS nurse with a client through webbased video conferencing, providing the client greater flexibility whilst giving us the ability to provide more care to more people with decreased travel time.
This sort of technology also allows the connection of peripheral devices to remotely monitor various indicators of a client’s health such as heart rate, temperature, glucose levels and body weight, and record these measurements against a client’s care record.
Telehealth and mobile health Our Integrated Telehealth Project is fully subscribed with over 200 clients with chronic conditions receiving a range of services and support to assist them with management of their conditions. The project will run until September this year, with participants in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania using a range of technologies to connect with RDNS nurses and GPs. This project has again demonstrated the acceptability to clients of virtual care as a service model and the reassurance that can be provided to clients via regular contact with a nurse, albeit virtually. It has also highlighted the importance of matching the technology with the client to ensure useability, reliability and cost effectiveness. One of the key questions to be answered out of our telehealth projects has been the one about a sustainable business model. Our project experience has demonstrated that sustainability will be a combination of closely matching the technology solution with the client need and, where possible,