Technological innovations needed for aged care
The AMA has released its latest Position Statement on aged care and says Australia must get innovative in providing sustainable high-quality care for its ageing population.
The Position Statement, Innovation in aged care, says with more complex care needs among older Australians, technological innovations are necessary if the level of care is to be improved.
“Older people have a right to live in age-friendly physical and social environments in their home, residential aged care facility (RACF), community, city, and region, that supports independence, prevents social isolation, and includes timely access to services, transport, and infrastructure that enables and supports healthy ageing,” it states.
“Digital health, clinical informatics and assistive technologies have the potential to significantly improve the aged care system through increased efficiency and coordination of care providers and by supporting healthy ageing.”
Technological innovations are also necessary also to enable the sustainability of the aged care system. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in its interim report has “uncovered an aged care system that is characterised by an absence of innovation and by rigid conformity” where “innovation is stymied”. The Royal Commission called for an increased use of technology in aged care.
Releasing the Position Statement, AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said enhanced technology must be at the core of any reforms to improve the levels of care, compassion, and coordination in Australia’s aged care sector.
“Innovation is urgently needed in aged care resourcing, electronic records, medication management, assistive technologies, communication technologies, data collection and research, privacy, and security,” he said.
“Older people often move between aged care, primary care, and acute and multiple other care settings. Innovation will improve information sharing between these settings and help avoid the sorts of mishaps that we see happening in aged care, and which were exposed by the Royal Commission.
“The application of digital health to medication management can bring improvements to how medication is prescribed and dispensed.
“Information shared between health care, aged care, and pharmacies will reduce mismanagement of medication and avoid polypharmacy in aged care.”
The AMA’s Position Statement aims to clearly state the AMA’s position on the role that innovation in technological developments can play in the improvement of provision of care for older people in aged care settings.
“Any current and future planning of aged care approaches will require innovative solutions, to reduce the cost burden and improve efficiency in care delivery. Future solutions must improve care for older people and either improve or fit the practitioner’s workflow so that they do not add a burden of increased workload,” it states.
“Increased use of technology requires interoperability between relevant software programs and systems, provided all privacy and security measures are met.
“Further research into incorporating technology in the aged care sector is essential.”
The Position Statement outlines the areas where innovation is needed and principles under which that innovation should be developed and implemented, in order to create a system that will benefit both older people and providers of care.
RACFs have the responsibility to continuously strive to improve care, including through technological innovation and that Government funding models should enable and support innovation.
Areas of innovation outlined in the Position Statement include aged care resourcing, electronic records, medication management, assistive technologies, communication technologies, data collection and research, privacy and security.
Older people often move between aged care, primary care and acute care settings. Innovation should improve information sharing between these settings and help avoid mishaps that we see happening in aged care.
Additionally, application of digital health to medication management can bring improvements to how medication is prescribed, dispensed and information shared between health care, aged care, and pharmacies, reduce mismanagement of medication and avoid polypharmacy in aged care.
It is the AMA’s view that innovative technologies used in aged care should be co-designed with end users i.e. older people, health care and aged care providers, to achieve the best possible outcome for older people. The AMA also places great emphasis on impact evaluations of the application of innovative technologies.
The AMA is concerned with the ethical implications of technology use, data collection and research in aged care, and in this Position Statement is calling for development of timely policies to protect data privacy and security related to older people accessing aged care services.
The Position Statement can be found at: https://ama.com.au/position-statement/innovation-aged-care-2019-position-statement
Published: 11 Dec 2019