COSTS AND BENEFITS OF IT IN AGED CARE Lynden Aged Care in Melbourne’s Camberwell has been an early adopter of IT systems for resident care and staff convenience, and it is particularly pleased with its investment in a full medications management system. Visiting GPs use its clinical system when on the premises as the organisation has gone paperless, but a full venture into the PCEHR will have to wait until all GPs are on board.
KATE MCDONALD Journalist: Pulse+IT email@example.com
As a standalone, community-controlled aged care provider, Lynden Aged Care is as aware as any that investing in IT systems must have both a clinical and an organisational benefit. With a personally involved board and a CEO with a keen interest in IT, the organisation has made some targeted investments in IT that makes it better equipped than most in the sector. The facility has licences for 30 low care beds, 30 high care beds and 20 extra service places, and is currently undergoing a major capital development project that will add a new wing and accommodate 22 more people with high care needs. In addition, it has recently finished building six two-bedroom independent living units. It has gone fully wireless and has made significant investments in the iCareHealth clinical management system, iCareHealth’s medications management system, and the Vocera communications and nurse call platform. It also has an electronic time and attendance system for staff that allows them to simply scan their fingerprint when arriving at work, doing away with the need for paper timesheets, and staff can also log on remotely to apply for leave or make themselves available for shifts.
For CEO Ann Turnbull, the driving force behind the investments was the benefit she could see from the medications management system. “I saw that at a conference and it was clear to me how much time we would save and how it would almost eliminate medication errors,” Ms Turnbull says. “Just to set that up was the expensive part because we had to go fully wireless. For that to work properly is where the investment came in, but once you are already wireless the add-on bits aren’t anywhere near so much.” It was a substantial investment – half a million dollars all up including the infrastructure, Vocera and medications management – but when taking into account the convenience for nurses of the Vocera devices and the time saved on medication rounds, the return on investment is clear, she says. “Nursing staff just carry one device with them in which they can make and receive phone calls, they can receive nurse calls on it, they can talk to the residents, they can locate each other. “There are no telephones and they don’t have to carry a pager or any of that sort of thing, just the Vocera.
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