AGEING AT HOME: ICT AND SENIORS’ LIVING The 7th annual Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) conference is being held in Hobart in July. As the role of technology in helping people to stay at home longer continues to grow in importance, this year’s conference theme of the ‘digital revolution in seniors’ living’ is a fitting one. Emphasis will be placed not just on gadgets and the potential of telehealth, but on developing sustainable models of service provision in community and residential aged care.
KATE MCDONALD Journalist: Pulse+IT firstname.lastname@example.org
As this issue of Pulse+IT shows, the use of technology in aged care is no longer restricted simply to the use of clinical management systems in residential aged care, or of monitoring systems or telehealth in home care. It now runs the full gamut of technologies that can support the care of elderly people in their homes, their communities, the primary care sector, the hospital sector and the residential aged care sector. As several of our contributors have pointed out, it is not so much the use of technology that poses a challenge in aged care, or the development of new technologies geared towards elderly people. These days, the challenge is very much about how to develop sustainable business models to encourage initial investment in technology and ongoing funding for the provision of care to the elderly in what will remain a predominantly publicly funded sector for the foreseeable future.
About the author Kate McDonald is a senior staff journalist for Pulse+IT. Formerly the editor of Australian Life Scientist magazine, she has also edited industry titles Hospital & AgedCare and Nursing Review. Her interests cover health ICT, biotechnology and translational research.
As assistive technologies continue to develop – and to come down in price – more of the nitty gritty of service provision through these technologies is coming to the fore. The ITAC 2014 theme of “assistive technologies: disruptor or enhancer of services?” is therefore a pertinent one. The afternoon session of day one of the conference will hear an update from the
Aged Care Industry IT Council (ACIITC), which earlier this year released a report calling on the government to invest $10 million as seed money to assist the industry to begin to catch up with the investment made in the primary care sector, particularly to GPs and pharmacists. What the council’s aged care ICT vision calls for is an emphasis not just on proven technologies like telehealth or emerging technologies like the PCEHR, but on the more mundane but very much critical areas of integration of care planning, management information and reporting, and staff productivity.
IT vendors Technology conferences are used to seeing IT vendors spruik their wares, but at ITAC this year, the Aged Care Industry Vendors Association (ACIVA) will discuss the role of vendors as partners in delivering care. ACIVA president David Loiterton, who took over the role from long-term president Caroline Lee last December, will discuss the view of vendors that it is imperative they play a connected role with providers, the government and other regulatory bodies. “We need to be proactive in contributing to and helping shape technology policy, as well as interacting
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