Sep 02, 2022

Better support needed for aged care providers to adopt new technology

Better support needed for aged care providers to adopt new technology

Aged care providers are experiencing mixed results with new technology and management systems and require better support to reach success, according to CompliSpace’s annual aged care workforce report.

The Impossible Task: Workers’ Views on the Rising Demands of Aged Care report by CompliSpace surveyed over 1,000 aged care workers to better understand workforce trends, challenges and needs within businesses.

It revealed that 47% of workers have seen their organisation adopt new technologies in the past year, including electronic health records, workforce management programs and e-learning platforms.

However, a slight majority of 54% said the quality and efficiency of their work had improved due to the new technology, while 15% actually saw a decrease in quality and efficiency in aged care delivery.

The report findings have raised concerns as providers are working towards new Government regulations and compliance requirements.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of aged care technology provider InteliCare, Daniel Pilbrow, says organisations have been consistent in adopting new technology, although external factors have impacted the rollout of new innovations in aged care. 

“The care industry is continuing to battle against ongoing challenges including an ageing population, growing aged care requirements, and staffing shortages,” Mr Pilbrow said.

“Technology can be used to help relieve pressures faced by the care industry. The uptake of technology has been constant, with growth continuing despite the many challenges faced by the industry and its workforce.

The CompliSpace report also shows a state-by-territory disparity in the uptake of new technology. 

The Australian Capital Territory leads the way at 75%, while Victoria (49%), Western Australia and South Australia (both 48%) and Tasmania (40%) are not quite keeping pace. 

Additional support, including increased wages, would better help aged care providers and staff meet compliance obligations, said Mr Pilbrow. 

“Having worked in the industry for over two decades, I recognise [the] enormous challenges faced by care providers,” Mr Pilbrow explained. 

“A much-deserved pay rise for this dedicated workforce is a step in the right direction.

Technology that frees up staff time has the potential to improve the quality of care for residents without adding additional pressure on an already stretched workforce, added Mr Pilbrow. 

“We can and should be tapping into the sophisticated technology that is now available to help alleviate the everyday pressures care staff face,” he said.

Professor Sue Gordon of the Flinders Caring Futures Institute and Research Director and Workforce Capability Lead of the Aged Care Research Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA), addressed similar issues surrounding technology in aged care at the Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit on Thursday.

“We still have paper based systems for reporting and rostering within the sector,” Ms Gordon said

“We need business processes to be enabled to provide care, we need to look at our models of service delivery [and] virtual care. 

“We’ve got the technology to do it, we need to get on and get stuck into it.”

Ms Gordon also said that the aged care industry could not take advantage of new technologies, like artificial intelligence or predictive modelling, until a standardised and detailed set of data was available to “allow us to use our human resources in the most effective and efficient manner”.

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