Several health technology companies in Australia have banded together to integrate their systems to demonstrate coordinated care in residential aged care facilities and home care settings.
The Aged Care Technology Consortium brought together six founding members: Webstercare, Extensia, Foxo, Visionflex, MEDrefer and Humanetix.
These companies are providers of technologies for communications, workflow and administration, telehealth and remote monitoring, referrals, medication management, and health information sharing. They have also demonstrated interoperability with existing IT infrastructures of aged care providers.
WHY IT MATTERS
Their collaboration offers a solution to the Australian aged care sector’s disjointed systems marked by the lack of information sharing between facilities and even within organisations themselves.
Based on a press statement, their benefits to the sector include:
preventing unnecessary transfers to hospital emergency departments;
early identification of health needs;
improved services in rural and remote areas;
more staff time for patient care;
better engagement with families; and
patient control of their information.
Meanwhile, the consortium is also inviting other tech providers in the health, aged care, Indigenous health and disabilities care sectors to join them. As Hills Limited CEO David Clarke said: “We are not trying to create a club that no one else can join”.
He added: “Quite the contrary, we want to show how [the] industry takes the initiative and we encourage other innovators to participate to ensure the consortium offers the best collection of technologies to aged care providers and those who use their services. It will also allow new and innovative technologies to be integrated to make sure the ecosystem is state-of-the-art and evolving”.
THE LARGER TREND
The Aged Care Royal Commission highlighted in its 2021 report that “substandard care and abuse pervades the Australian aged care system”. Aside from being “deeply analogue,” the aged care sector was also found to be “well behind” other sectors in the use and application of technology and that it has “no clear” ICT strategy. “This mix of factors has resulted in an aged care sector that is behind the research, innovation and technological curves,” the commission said.
This led the Australian government to agree to 126 of 148 recommendations, of which more than 30 are dependent on ICT and digital enablers to implement.
ON THE RECORD
For Webstercare MD Gerard Stevens, the aged care sector “shouldn’t exist as an unconnected silo, especially when older people rely on primary care, allied health, specialists and support services in various combinations”.
The Aged Care Technology Consortium, he said, “provides a unique and powerful opportunity to show how it is possible to solve some of the ongoing challenges in aged care.
Foxo CEO and co-founder Luke Fletcher also commented: “Together we can start to solve problems that are a consequence of disjointed and disconnected legacy systems that underserve the patients, clinicians, and carers who use them. We can do better together”.