ACIITC release report on clinical care software in residential aged care facilities

October 19, 2023

Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC), in collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency, is proud to announce the release of its report on the ‘Residential Aged Care Use of Clinical Care Systems’. This report is a vital step toward advancing innovation and technology in the aged and community care sector, with a focus on improving the quality of life for older Australians and their families.

ACIITC is committed to promoting the benefits of innovation and technology in aged and community care and has undertaken this research project as part of its ongoing commitment to highlight best practices and drive digital-enhanced service delivery. The report identifies both the challenges and opportunities for residential aged care providers in adopting clinical care software, emphasising the potential for improved data collection, care planning, and overall care quality for older Australians.

This report assumes particular significance considering the Commonwealth Government reform agenda propelled by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Recommendation 68 of the Royal Commission’s report calls for the universal adoption of digital technology and My Health Record across the aged care sector. This report underscores the urgency for aged care providers to embrace clinical software and develop comprehensive data-related policies and procedures.

ACIITC believes that this research report will provide valuable insights and serve as a critical resource for all stakeholders seeking to achieve recommendation 68. By working together, we can contribute to the advancement of a more innovative, sustainable, and digitally mature aged and community care sector for the benefit of older Australians and their families.

Key report findings:

The report delves into several critical areas, including:

  • Diversity of Technology Infrastructure: There is a wide variation in the number of technology devices used in residential aged care facilities, with the majority using desktop computers, smart tablets, laptops, and smartphones. Wi-Fi connectivity is widespread. Multiple clinical software systems are in use, and a high number of clinical care systems were identified.
  • External Use of Clinical Software: Visiting clinicians have higher access to input, extract, and review data on-site than remotely. Many external agencies, such as auditing personnel, access data electronically. Clinical software integration with visiting clinicians’ software and community pharmacy software varies widely.
  • Integration with My Health Record: Most organisations reported limited integration with My Health Record, and most of them did not record data in residents’ My Health Records. There is a need for improved integration with this National health record system.
  • Future Strategies for Innovation and Technology: Organisations have varying technology investment strategies, with some lacking a specific focus on clinical software. Standardising terminology and enhancing data integration emerged as crucial factors for future innovation and technology strategies.
  • Challenges and Barriers: Barriers to clinical software adoption include the cost of products, training, upgrading, employee culture, time, resources, and digital literacy. The absence of consistent terminology across the sector presented challenges in data collection and analysis.
  • Workforce Roles: Key workforce roles directly using and inputting into clinical software include registered nurses, management personnel, administrative personnel, personal care workers, enrolled nurses, visiting allied health professionals, and visiting General Practitioners (GPs).
  • Duration of Clinical Software Deployment: A significant percentage of clinical software systems have been in deployment for 5 to 10 years, indicating a need for updates and improvements.
  • Data Duplication: There is a notable amount of duplication of core clinical information in multiple clinical systems, highlighting the importance of data integration.
  • Training: A significant portion of organisations reported training all their employees in the use of clinical software, indicating a commitment to skill development.
  • The need for Standardised Terminology: The absence of consistent and standardised terminology across the residential aged care sector posed challenges in conducting the survey and analysing the data effectively.
  • A significant number of Clinical Software in Deployment: The report found that there were 287 unique clinical software vendors identified in residential aged care.

The report’s comprehensive findings and recommendations are the result of four key activities: an environmental scan, a national survey, expert focus groups, and a survey of general practitioners.

ACIITC report highlights the importance of standardised terminology, the need for data integration, and the potential for enhanced care through clinical care software in residential aged care.

For more information or to access the full report, please visit