Aged care executives join forces to discuss future of sector – Part 2

| 30 Apr 2015

iCareHealth and Telstra Health recently hosted a series of lunches for aged care executives in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. In part two of our wrap-up special, we look at some of the hot topics discussed throughout the lunches, including staff recruitment and retention, cloud computing, and reducing system silos.

Don’t be left behind

Aged care executives throughout the lunches discussed the changing attitudes towards technology in the sector, stating that while there was once a hesitation from nursing and care staff around adopting software systems, now aged care providers who have yet to embrace them are recognising that they are being left behind by more progressive organisations.

IT supports best practice

As well as remaining sustainable, achieving best practice was seen to be an advantage of utilising technology in aged care. An example that was discussed during the lunches was that of NSW residential aged care provider, Scalabrini Village, who credited electronic medication management software with helping them reduce medication errors and missed medications.

Staff recruitment and retention

Utilising technology was also seen to be an advantage in staff recruitment, as Chief Executive Officer of Star Gardens, Nigel Faull, explained to the Brisbane lunch. Nigel told the group that once Star Gardens adopted a clinical, care and medication management software system, they began attracting and retaining a younger staff base; which was particularly important given the recruitment challenges of their rural location.

Cloud increasing technology adoption

The use of the cloud as a vehicle for software systems was seen as a factor in growing technology adoption rates in aged care. Cloud-based software typically has a lower cost of ownership, making it more affordable. While some providers previously held concerns around security levels, now that all major Australian banks host their online banking portals in the cloud, aged care executives recognise that security levels far surpass what was once imagined.

Long term partners are crucial

While aged care providers fight to remain competitive, so do many of the vendors that support them. As Chris Gray explained, some aged care providers are expressing that they have outgrown their vendor partner, so selecting a vendor that has scalable solutions is essential. Chris stated that providers will need to be strategic in selecting vendor partners that have the resources, funding and focus on future investment to remain sustainable as a long term partner. This sentiment was felt throughout the lunches, with aged care executives commenting that they have already witnessed a priority shift towards partnering with vendors whose focus is on sustainability and innovation.

Reduce system silos

As talk turned to eHealth across the wider sector, Shane explained that Telstra Health supports the Federal Government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). The advantage of Telstra Health’s eHealth vision however, is that the connected systems have been designed with the healthcare provider in mind; which in turn benefits the consumer.

The importance of a connected system within the one organisation was also discussed throughout the lunches, with aged care executives expressing that is it no longer acceptable to have siloed systems within the one company if they are to deliver better health outcomes for aged care consumers. All providers agreed that truly understanding a complete view of their consumers was becoming essential in order to offer appropriate services at sustainable pricing levels.

Confidence in established resources

Chris explained that as one of the selected eHealth vendors working with Telstra Health to create a connected healthcare system, iCareHealth clients benefit from partnering with a small team of dedicated iCareHealth staff, backed by the resources of a multinational. It is these resources that enable iCareHealth clients to have confidence that they have a long term, committed partner to meet the needs of the aged care sector as it evolves.

Join our conversation below. Let us know in what other ways aged care providers can utilise technology to remain competitive.

Tags: aged care, cloud, cloud computing, cloud technology, ehealth, government, health, home care, residential aged care, rural and remote, software, technology, workforce

Sophia Bolden

Communications Manager

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Manager at Telstra Health - ADCC (formerly iCareHealth). With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.

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