Quality and independence
What works, what doesn’t and how to choose – ITAC 2020
ITAC 2020 aiming to find the answers New and innovative solutions must be at the forefront of strategies to improve services for older Australians. ITAC 2020 shows providers how to embed new and emerging technology to achieve quality services.
here has been an influx of new and innovative technologies in recent years to support older people and the organisations looking after them. Whether designed specifically for aged care markets or developed for different sectors and tailored to suit seniors, they usually have one thing in common. Their overall goal is to support quality services and promote independence. With the increasing amount of technology available, it can be difficult to find which solutions work best for aged care and disability providers and their clients. To help show you the way, ITAC 2020 is preparing two days of informative content and a packed line up of speakers featuring technology leaders from Australia and overseas. The conference, which takes place at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane on 3 - 4 March, has the theme ‘Transforming Independence through Innovative Technology’. It aims to emphasise the importance of assistive technology in supporting service quality and independence. Rod Young, chair of the ITAC organising committee, says with so many technologies evolving, it is crucial to engage consumers and identify how the technology will address their individual needs. “ITAC 2020 will have a strong focus on emerging and innovative technologies that 26 | NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2019
will change how services are provided whilst enabling consumers to have a much greater role in choosing their preferred service and how they manage their service budget, Young tells Australian Ageing Agenda. “National experts will present on a range of topics related to the conference theme. Presentations will also focus on the broad business and strategic issues facing an industry dealing with multiple challenges in an environment of substantial reform,” says Young.
ITAC 2020 is an opportunity for service providers to learn about technology in its various forms, how they can best utilise these tools to enable and enhance sustainable quality service provision and provide consumers with in-depth information about service offerings and provider performance, Young says. “Innovation and evolving technologies whether adopted from mainstream or created specifically for a service environment will be crucial in changing how the future workforce delivers services and how consumers become actively engaged in decisions about their services.” It is more important than ever for service providers to look at and reassess their use of technology with the spotlight firmly on the aged and disability care sectors, he says. “With the aged care royal commission required to look at the use of technology and by inference improving system wide outcomes including workforce efficiencies that deliver sustainable quality performance and the disability royal commission just getting underway, there will be undoubted pressure on service providers to consider how technology can underpin these efficiency objectives,” Young says. ITAC 2020 will address a range of areas pertinent to aged care and disability service providers including assistive technology, medication management and offsite information systems delivery. Expanding on ways to engage consumers with technology, futurist and conference keynote speaker Gihan Perera will discuss how artificial intelligence can support aged care and disability care recipients living in residential care or at home. “Artificial intelligence broadly speaking is just computers doing what previously only humans could do,” Perera tells AAA. AI won’t replace humans, but it can certainly assist in many ways, including promoting independence, says Perera. “We’re used to walking around with computers in our pockets and we’re used to using apps. A lot of those apps now have artificial intelligence built in so they can make basic decisions to help people who want to be more independent. “Even if consumers want support from friends and family, the friends and family don’t have to be around all the time because the apps can help them make the connection between friends and family and the individual,” says Perera. Artificial intelligence is also supporting independence through the virtual voice assistants such as Google Home, which can help older people living with dementia by responding to simple questions such as ‘what time is it’ and ‘what day is it’.
Rod Young, Allison Nikula, Greg Satur, Simon Heaysman and Graeme Wickenden
“We’ve got technology today that helps enhance our lives and it’s not just for the general population. It’s also for the people who need support in aged care and disability services.”
AI can also be used to locate older people who may wander and send alerts to families when their loved one leaves a certain area, says Perera. It can also be used to track patterns of using certain kitchen appliances, such as a kettle, and send alerts when there is a change in behaviour. Just like smartphones enable independence today, AI will increasingly promote independence into the future, he says. “We’ve got technology today that helps enhance our lives and it’s not just for the general population. It’s also for the people who need support in aged care and disability services,” says Perera. “The big change which is happening both in disability services and in the aged care sector is that it’s moving away from institutional providers and moving more to individuals. We’re seeing that individuals have more control, influence and power than ever before. And the technology is enabling that and facilitating that.”
Other eminent speakers include Sonja Bernhardt, CEO of ThoughtWare Australia, who will talk about blockchain and when it does and doesn’t benefit providers. If blockchain is implemented for the right reasons, rather than just for the sake of having it, it proves valuable for residential and home aged care and disability services, says Bernhardt. “Any technology that is smart, easy to use, and efficient and makes things easier for those in care and care workers does and will continue to make a welcome positive impact,” Bernhardt tells AAA. An example of when not to implement blockchain is ahead of likely or potential changes to legislation or regulation, she says. australianageingagenda.com.au
“The sector’s already going through so many reforms now and with the two royal commissions, there’s going to be even more reforms coming out. So just jumping on the blockchain bandwagon before it’s been picked up by sector and legislation changes may create additional problems rather than solving one,” Bernhardt says. Blockchain is best viewed as one tool in the box. To be most effective, a blockchain must be additive to the ecosystem and not invalidate or minimise existing, precious, technology investments, she says. Bernhardt says she will share her tips with delegates on when and how providers should implement blockchain technology. Continuing the burning discussion on blockchain, Daniel Royal, senior manager of payments development and strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia will talk about the Making Money Smart experiment.
“The experiment aimed to evaluate the design benefits and limitations of the blockchain-based smart money system for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and identify other use cases,” Royal tells AAA. “The evaluation focused on both front-end user experiences and back-end technology considerations, including how blockchain technology could be integrated with Australia’s New Payments Platform.” The experiment involved 10 NDIS participants, carers and a small number of NDIS service providers. Consumers estimated they saved between 1 and 15 hours a week when using the prototype. Service providers estimated they saved between 0.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent of annual revenue, says Royal. “The learnings from the experiment can be applied to a range of potential use cases, including smart savings plans for individuals, insurance payments, aged care environments and self-taxing transactions,” he says. The results from the study are encouraging, however further work is required to refine the solution before implementation, says Royal. “You cannot innovate in a vacuum,” he says.
Innovative new start-ups recognised
Other hot topics being explored at ITAC 2020 include innovative start-ups. Chris Gray, ITAC’s Start-Up’s advisor, will facilitate a panel session with last year’s joint ITAC award winners Simon Heaysman and Greg Satur, the co-founders of hayylo, and Allison Nikula who founded CareApp. “Human centred design at the intersection of care and technology, means bringing together the care recipient, regulators, technology innovators with the care providers,” Gray tells AAA. Gray will lead a discussion on a range of burning industry issues including how investment in organisation-wide learning and improvement 28 | NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2019
Tech enabling independence STEWART KOPLICK, service delivery learning leader at the Endeavour Foundation, will showcase Endeavour Foundation Connect, an app for the disability sector. The app aims to leverage technology to increase visibility, transparency and personalised connectivity at an individual site specific and customer level, says Koplick. “There was a focus on capturing participation of people in daily activities via stories, pictures and calendar events with families and carers being active participants,” Koplick tells AAA. “Endeavour Foundation Connect allows family members to comment and communicate with their loved ones and the service provider irrespective of a person or family member’s location anywhere in the world.”
combined with the latest technologies can realise new models of care. Alongside him, Heaysman and Satur will tell delegates about hayylo’s journey since winning two ITAC awards in 2018 for the development of its purpose-build customer experience platform that promotes independence. A year on, hayylo has seen a large shift in the industry and a strong focus on digital transformation, says Heaysman, hayylo’s chief operating officer. “When hayylo received the ITAC 2018 award for Best Solution That Provides Ongoing Consumer Independence and joint overall winner, the organisation was servicing around 20,000 elderly customers across the community,” Heaysman tells AAA. “As we approach the end of 2019, hayylo has connected and communicated with over 60,000 customers and families across the country. This number is forecast to reach over 100,000 people across the community within the next six months. “Our vision is to empower a deeper connection and communication between care providers and their customers,” he says. CareApp, an app designed to connect aged care residents with people involved in their care and support networks, won at ITAC 2018 for Best Workforce Efficiency or Quality Improvement Solution and fellow joint overall winner. It was just eight months after the app launched, says Nikula. “The moment CareApp won ITAC 2018 will forever be etched in my memory as one of the most truly delightful moments. The look on my face at the time, a mix of shock and excitement, said it all,” Nikula tells AAA. Since ITAC 2018, CareApp’s expansion is gaining momentum, she says. In September, CareApp secured $500,000 in seed funding from investor group Southern Angels to continue to develop the platform and enter the US market in 2020. Nikula says CareApp continues to work closely with Australian aged care organisations to provide a direct window into the care and wellbeing of older people. “CareApp is truly a passion project that was created to solve a very personal communication problem that our family experienced in the aged care sector,” she says.
A message from ACIITC
Members of the Aged Care Industry IT Council are encouraging everyone in the aged care, home care and disability sectors to attend the
“Any technology that is smart, easy to use, efficient and makes things easier for not only those in care, but care workers does and will continue to make a welcome positive impact.”
event to learn about innovative technologies to transform independence. Anne Livingstone, chair of the National Home Care Committee, says 2020 marks an exciting time for ITAC 2020, which for the first time includes the disability sector. “This broader scope is aimed directly at ensuring that the needs and considerations of all elements of the social care agenda are considered and that the needs of organisations who provide services across all sector interests are included,” Livingstone tells AAA. Dr George Margelis, chair of ACIITC, says this year’s conference provides opportunities to share the council’s work and to focus on the ongoing work of the aged care royal commission. “This conference holds high importance in the calendar of activities supported by the ACIITC and this unique event will provide me with the opportunity to update delegates on the range of activities that we have been undertaking,” Margelis tells AAA. “ITAC 2020 supports ACIITC’s vision for technology and innovation to be embedded features of aged, disabilities and community care operations and services rather than an after-thought.” Gavin Tomlins, chair of the ACIITC CIO forum committee, says the conference is a meeting place for everyone interested in the technological revolution of the sector. And it is an opportunity to get involved in networking, information exchange and the comprehensive trade display, he says. “The conference brings together all these elements in one space and is an important activity on the calendar for all staff in aged, disabilities and community care,” Tomlins tells AAA. “The specific focus on highlighting best practice examples and the deployment of new technologies makes it an essential space to exchange ideas and to benchmark how your own organisation’s undertakings might be progressing.” n
ITAC 2020 3 – 4 March Royal International Convention Centre Brisbane W: itacconference.com.au T: 0413 626 021 E: email@example.com