In an era where broadband and cloud computing are revolutionising entire industries, the time has come to place greater emphasis on the sophistication of IT systems in the aged care sector. Today on the iCareHealth blog, we revisit a 2013 post that explores the growing demand on the aged care sector and how technology can help relieve this pressure.
Baby boomers reach retirement
An ageing population is amplifying the challenges in health and aged care, as the baby boomer generation – the 5.5 million people born between 1946 and 1965 – reach their twilight years. An older, retired population will put unprecedented pressures on Australia’s already overburdened aged care system.
Expenditure to rise
With an ageing population, the pressure on aged care budgets will continue to rise. According to the Department of Health and Ageing’s A Healthier Future for all Australians report, expenditure on health and residential aged care as a percentage of GDP was projected to rise from 9.3 per cent in 2002-03 to 12.4 per cent of GDP by 2032-33.
Workforce growth needed
Australia’s ageing population will drive subsequent workforce pressures. According to the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council’s 2015 Environmental Scan report, the aged care workforce is expected to grow from 350,000 in 2012 to 1.3 million by 2050 in order to keep up with demand.
Workers set to retire
At a surface level, the forecast workforce figures may present an impressive opportunity for future employment in the aged care sector. However, as the baby boomer generation heads into retirement, the reality is that the aged care workforce is both rapidly declining and ageing. As a result, there are already industry-wide shortages of registered nurses and qualified care workers.
Technology to ease market pressures
The future of health and aged care in Australia is clearly one of the biggest challenges we face in the coming years. The good news is that advancements in technology are amplifying the opportunities across both sectors.
There is a clear imperative to assist the aged care sector to take advantage of broadband and cloud computing technology, as a way to effectively manage spiralling financial costs, increasingly limited resources and other market challenges.
In IBIS World’s A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050 report, the health care sector was identified as one of the biggest industries set to greatly benefit from high-speed broadband services and related technologies.
Having already revolutionised the way Australians do banking, cloud computing is enabling aged care providers to access software systems without the associated costs of hardware and traditional servers. By using cloud based software, new functionality can be delivered faster than ever before.
Benefits for providers
For aged care providers, access to information using high-speed broadband and cloud computing will provide tangible financial gains through improved efficiency, productivity and the quality of care delivery. Technology advancements in aged care will also ensure end-to-end care management and care delivery becomes more streamlined, enabling carers to work smarter by shifting their focus from administration to providing care. Most importantly, contributions from technology will allow aged care providers to greatly enhance their delivery of care and support, with a profound impact on the quality of life for the care recipient.
In what ways can you see greater adoption of technology improving the delivery of aged care services in Australia? Join our conversation below.