When the the aged care royal commission hands down its final report this month it will have to acknowledge the role of technology in achieving the objectives recommended by senior counsel, a forum on aged care and technology has heard.

George Margelis

In its first forum of the year, the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) on Tuesday provided an overview of how the sector can prepare for the new post-royal commission era in aged care.

Final submissions of Counsel Assisting, handed down last October, made a number of recommendations, including a new funding model which would include assistive technology and home modification.

That, together with recommendations to significantly increase home support, meant technology will be playing a bigger role in aged care delivery, ACIITC Independent Chair George Margelis said.

“The commission will have an almost underlying need for the industry’s technology and digital capability to be enhanced and enabled if we are to achieve some of the objectives of consumer engagement, quality performance, information flow and maximisation of choice,” he said.

“It behoves us in the industry to try and be ahead of that.”

Evolution of the smart home

ACIITC’s Home Care Group Chair Anne Livingstone said she expected to see continued evolution of the smart home into a viable aged care service as technology took a leading role in keeping people at home.

Anne Livingstone

Ms Livingstone said ACIITC has already seen concepts transform into commercial products in the aged care sector, and lessons learned during COVID-19 were likely to provide continued impetus.

Many home care providers were already using smart technology at scale and offering it as a standard service menu item, rather than just a novelty ‘bolt-on’, she said.

A lack of funding mechanisms has previously stood in the way of technology uptake by providers, she said, and ACIITC welcomed recommendations for technology and assistive technology to be included in the home care funding mix.

“We’ll be working to have that refined and documented in funding models to allow providers to clearly consider how these sorts of options in service menus can be properly funded,” she said.

In its submissions to the royal commission  the ACIITC argued the case for technology as a way of advancing consumer directed care and called for technology to be incorporated in aged care redesign.

Read them here and here.

Dr Livingstone said research suggested that digitisation could  provide better care than traditional approaches, and ACIITC would continue to benchmark data on this.

“We need to look at the opportunity that technology provides to the workforce and the community,” she said.

The Royal Commission will provide a final report by February 26.

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