A plan to implement new technology in the aged care sector was launched this week by Minister Ken Wyatt, alongside numerous other government officials and aged care organisations.

The plan consists of what is known as The Technology Roadmap; a guide that tells the sector how to make technology more prominent in day to day operations, in the hope it can eliminate the many short, medium and long-term ICT-related problems and issues that the sector currently faces.

The Technology Roadmap was put together by the Aged Care Industry IT Company, in conjunction with a team from the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University.

Proposed changes for aged care

While the plan consists of many proposed changes to the system, its primary focus is working with various government departments to improve technology capabilities across the sector, as well as improving connections across aged care systems.

Other changes include several pilots with the aim of demonstrating how to extend telehealth in aged care, as well as implementing a national digital literacy strategy for consumers.

The Technology Roadmap has also suggested developing a national workforce technology development strategy and trialling embedding technology expertise in assessment and care planning.

Most of the proposals are aiming to be implemented in the short term, with officials saying they hope to be ready and available within one to two years, with any necessary follow-up action for the following three to seven years.

Wider reforms across the sector

AClitC chair Glenn Bunney said that The Technology Roadmap has been designed to work alongside many other current reforms taking place:

“We are hoping that as the Aged Care Roadmap progresses and goes through government policy that the technology will go along with it as well,” he said.

“It will hopefully get an individual provider asking questions of themselves about their preparedness and how to implement the technology in the roadmap.”

The support of the government

LASA chief Sean Rooney said that The Technology Roadmap provides helpful insight into the various ways technology can benefit aged care services.

He also noted that the government can help support the proposed plans with system protocols and by ensuring different departments work together to help reach the planned goals.

“There are also examples previously where the government has supported industry to transition to new technologies,” he said.

“A useful starting point would be with regards to the My Health Record.”

Addressing the issues at heart

ACSA chief Pat Sparrow said much of the necessary reform needed in the care sector was underpinned by technology, so The Technology Roadmap is an excellent way of how to address the issues:

“That includes assistive technology for people but also the technology that providers need to give true life to consumer choice,” she said.

“The key thing is that there’s a focus on technology and that it is not overlooked… that’s what we want from all partners and particularly from government.”