Technology will be key to fix the “structural deficiencies” in Australia’s aged care sector and providers must improve their digital maturity in the next phase of system reform, experts have said.
A new report by the RMIT-Cisco Health Transformation Lab detailed the critical role technology will play in supporting new aged care legislation.
The paper, Transforming aged care – towards a future in which digitisation drives respect and connection, said there was a need for a “systematic" digital overhaul in the next five years.
“The sector lags behind the hospital system in the adoption of electronic medical records and significantly trails broader industry in the implementation of digital human resource management,” the report said.
“Many providers continue to rely on inefficient paper-based systems that absorb the time of nurses and carers, taking them away from face-to-face interactions with aged care residents.”
Currently, more than 61 per cent of older people in Australia are using the internet, however only a handful of aged care providers offer wireless internet access as standard, the report said.
Additionally, less than half of aged care providers are using smart technology and only 14 per cent use a fully integrated software system.
Aged care providers report high levels of uncertainty and workforce challenges as a major barrier to introducing new technology.
"Providers also spoke of the difficulty of providing appropriate care to people with diminishing mental competence," the report said.
"And described the challenge of consistently finding sufficient well-trained staff to meet existing and emerging needs."
From October next year, aged care providers will be required to meet a mandatory care time standard of an average 200 minutes for each resident.
This will coincide with the Albanese’s government current efforts to have registered nurses in aged care homes 24/7 by the end of 2022.
Executive Chair of the RMIT-Cisco Health Transformation Lab, Professor Vishaal Kishore, said digital transformation could act as a "motivating force" to attract new workers into the industry.
“Technology can and should be core to how we generate a respectful, quality-driven aged care system," he said.
“Put simply, technology enables us to treat the elderly with respect.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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