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Project to make the most of aged care data

Valuable data routinely collected in residential aged care is being lost because providers are gathering and recording it in different ways.

That’s the issue a team of Australian researchers are hoping to overcome with the Aged Care Data Compare project.

They will map data across the various systems currently used in the aged sector and the team said the resulting data hub would improve care, everyday efficiency and transparency and could make for easier reporting to government.

Dr Michael Costello, interim chief executive of the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), said Australia needs to have a much stronger handle on the huge amount of data that is collected across the aged care sector.

“Right now, we can’t easily compare data about care, quality and performance when it comes to aged care, because different systems are being used all over the country,” he said.

“Through this project, we will have a prototype for how we can effectively share information across aged care providers that use different IT systems.” 

The research team envisions that the project will in the future allow providers to indicate to current and future residents and their families and carers how they measure quality and show how they are currently performing.

Project lead Professor Len Gray from at the University of Queensland (UQ) said the project will map the data across the various systems currently used in the sector to an internationally recognised standard, and identify a panel of measures to allow benchmarking between providers.

“The outcomes of this project will resolve the technical challenges that inhibit data standardisation and sharing between residential aged care facilities, helping to make best use of the data we already have to inform improvements in care,” said Gray.

The project is a collaboration between the Centre for Health Services Research at UQ, the Bupa Health Foundation, and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

The university will host a webinar on the project on 17 July at 1pm.

In it, Gray will detail the project and explain how aged care providers can get involved.

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