THE MISSING LINK FOR AGED CARE The Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) has called on the government to invest $10 million as a starting point to get wider IT adoption moving in the sector, which has experienced slow uptake of technologies besides clinical care software. It also believes financial incentives are necessary for providers to become PCEHR-ready, with the absence of key software functionalities playing a large part in the sector’s slow pace of change.
KATE MCDONALD Journalist: Pulse+IT firstname.lastname@example.org
In March this year, the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) – an umbrella group representing the two main aged care associations, LASA and ACSA – launched what it calls its “vision” for IT in aged care, asking for a one-off investment of $10 million to help the sector implement a plan for better ICT services and new models of care. The council argues that the investment of $10 million should be looked at as seed money to enable aged care providers to begin investing more in ICT, similar to previous investments made in the primary care sector for GPs and pharmacists. And in a nod to the Coalition government and its stated agenda of cutting red tape and freeing up business investment, the blueprint argues that the government might also take the opportunity to review the scope of information currently required by streamlining reporting requirements and information access. ACIITC chair Suri Ramanathan says that while the industry has put forward a firm figure of $10m, it well understood that the current focus is on tightening budgets rather than expanding them. However, the aged care industry is arguing that in addition to the investment, the government and the industry can together look at reducing waste.
That said, the purpose behind the blueprint is to argue that investing in ICT is a way to change models of care to better enable older Australians to remain independent and well. “The reality is, this entire discussion is all about how you change the models of care,” Mr Ramanathan says. “It is about how you enable and maintain the dignity of older Australians. Right now, I think that technology has gone way beyond the policy.” The Digital Care Services: Harnessing ICT to create sustainable aged care services blueprint, developed in association with Accenture, does look at different areas such as telehealth, eHealth and the PCEHR, but also at less headlinegarnering topics as integration of care planning, management information and reporting, and staff productivity. It argues that leading providers are looking to improve the productivity of their workforce by reducing the administration and travel burden, maximising face-toface care time, and providing unobtrusive monitoring or assistance when carers cannot be there. What the aged care industry is looking for is stable investment and a move beyond the ad hoc projects announced and funded in the past with little follow-up or coordination. “What we would like is
Pulse+IT Magazine - Australasia's first and only eHealth and Health IT magazine.