Extensia’s shared care information platform RecordPoint provides older people and their families with a secure and easy-to-use platform in which they can see patient records, test results, medications and more. And it allows them to share their health information securely with healthcare providers, including aged care facilities, GPs, hospitals, pathologists, radiologists, allied health providers, and social services. It even integrates with mobile and wearable devices. Welcome to truly coordinated care.
Most of those who have been exposed to the aged care sector – professionally or personally – have been frustrated by the lack of information sharing by those providing care for their loved ones, aged care facilities, GPs, hospitals, pharmacies, allied health, and social and support service providers.
It is a problem caused by a starkly analogue sector that has failed to digitally transform: even when lives were on the line.
The issue was highlighted in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Within the traumatic experiences of older people and their families were revelations about the lack of information sharing and inadequately coordinated care.
The royal commission’s final report in March 2021 said aged care was “well behind other sectors in the use and application of technology, and has no clear information and communications technology strategy. This mix of factors has resulted in an aged care sector that is behind the research, innovation and technological curves.”
Within its 148 recommendations, the royal commission proposed the creation of an Aged Care Research and Innovation Fund (ACRIF) by 1 July 2022 that would invest 1.8 per cent of total aged care expenditure to aged care innovation, workforce research and technology research – an amount of more than $320 million annually.
It also recommended a number of additional technology measures, including mandated adoption of digital care management systems, the uptake of electronic medication management systems and increased use of My Health Record.
It said the Federal Government “should implement an assistive technology and home modifications category within the aged care program that provides goods, aids, equipment, technologies and services that promote a level of independence in daily living tasks and reduces risks to living safely at home”.
Technology is certainly key to redressing the inefficiencies, high costs and poor outcomes evident in aged care.
Health information silos across the aged care ecosystem are fundamental – and dangerous – obstacles to coordinated care.
The royal commission recommended a ‘collect once, use many times’ principle, and said new infrastructure was required to support the transfer of clinical records to enable continuity of care. It also said relevant administrative data, such as assessment data, should be made available to service providers, including when individuals move to different ones.
The aged care sector has a responsibility and an opportunity to digitally transform. Tech advances have the potential to allow people to remain where they want to be – in their homes – for longer. It can also dramatically reduce the risk of clinical errors and medication mishaps.
For the aged care system in Australia, implementing digital solutions including Extensia’s RecordPoint is the necessary step.