The board should take the lead on an aged care organisation’s digital strategy and ensure it focuses on evidence-based technology and looks ahead, an industry forum has heard.
The Govern with Care –Keeping on Top of Governance in Aged Care virtual forum on Tuesday heard from a panel of experts on how to ensure technology improves care and services from a governance perspective.
Gary Morgan, deputy chairman of home aged care provider integratedliving, said digital transformation is very difficult without governance-led leadership.
“It truly is transformative for the organisation but you’ve got to do it board down,” Mr Morgan told the virtual forum on Tuesday.
He said the integratedliving’s board has a clear strategy to navigate technology adoption that always starts with purpose.
“It’s about the vision, the values, the team and the culture of the organisation. It’s about truly understanding where your innovation and your infrastructure is at and then working with a team to stand up new products and services that are evidence-based and prove client outcomes,” Mr Morgan said.
“[I]t’s about ensuring that the strategy goes hand in hand with the problems and opportunities that are being led,” Mr Morgan said.
He said the integratedliving board always also takes a long-term approach when making investment decisions on technology.
“I take the view that let’s look at the [next] three to 10 years and be aware of what’s coming… in digital and what’s coming in workforce.”
Addressing fear of adopting technology
Professor Sue Gordon from Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences told the virtual forum there was a lot of fear around adopting technology in the sector.
It’s “complex” getting aged care providers to adopt technology because it relates to change management, she said.
“We’re talking about adopting things that we’re not… that familiar with. The whole part of that technology adoption requires the workforce to be prepared and that’s the workforce throughout the organisation,” Professor Gordon said.
It is important for the strategic vision to span the whole organisation, she said.
Providers are also concerned about security, which has been highlighted as a real issue during recent cyber security and malware attacks on aged care organisations, Professor Gordon said.
“There needs to be some understanding about the risk and where that risk should sit.”
It should be clear who oversees the security of digital products including whether it is the responsibility of the technology provider or someone within the aged care organisation, she said.
Technology needs to provide return on investment
Fellow panellist Graham Russell, managing director of data analytics company HSC Technology Group, said aged care providers should look at the return on investment when making decisions about technology.
“Technology is great but it has to provide a return on that investment. And you [need to] articulate that return on investment” Mr Russell told delegates.
Providers should also look toward a single platform that links many functions, he said.
“It’s about finding a platform that can aggregate all the data to have it at one point so it doesn’t actually then become the problem about the device or the gadgets around the platform,” Mr Russell said.
He provided the example of individual devices in the past, such as digital cameras, mobile phones, GPS navigation systems and MP3 players, which served a single purpose. Whereas today a single device can provide all of these functions.
The Govern with Care Virtual Forum, run by Leading Aged Care Services Australia and the Governance Institute of Australia, took place on 22 June.