Innovation and Technology peak body view the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report as an opportunity, but we need a strategic evidence-based approach to implementing innovation and technology in the sector to succeed

March 04, 2021

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report marks a historic moment for innovation and technology in the aged and community care industry.

The Report titled “Safety, Care, Dignity and Respect” scope ranges from the total rewrite of the Aged Care Act to the formation of a new commission to replace the entire current governance system, a new quality and safety authority, and entire new pricing systems.

Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) Chair, Dr George Margelis has considered the Royal Commission recommendations and believes “Without significant, and well-structured improvement of the current data capture, storage, and analysis of the capabilities of aged and community care providers this cannot occur, and many of the recommendations cannot be delivered.”

The ACIITC welcomes the focus of the technology recommendations but urges the sector to see technology as an overarching opportunity for better, accurate and timely data for compliance measurement, quality control and fiduciary and organisational management.

The ACIITC believes solutions enabled by technology can deliver this change. The ACIITC emphasises the importance of co-designing with older Australians and the need for good co-design methodologies and iterative development cycles with proper feedback cycles. Whilst initially this may add to the cost and complexity of the technology it will reward us many fold in quality and sustainability of the system.

The ACIITC calls for the development of a networked living lab ecosystem to enable us to develop and deliver a well-tuned digitally enabled aged care system for all Australians. This speaks to recommendation five of the Community Care Readiness: An Evaluation of Innovation & Technology (CARE IT) Report – Support the development of a National Network of Living Labs to co-design new innovative service models, workforces, and tele-technologies.

Dr Margelis encourages the sector to consider the Aged Care Industry Information Technology landmark reports (2017, 2019 and 2020), which investigate the successes and failure of technology and key learnings for the aged and community care sector to consider.

ACIITC landmark publications have been:

  • Technology Roadmap for Aged and Community Care in Australia (2017): A strategic roadmap developed to drive research, decision making and strategy that acknowledges innovation and technology across the Aged Care, Community and Health Sector. This Report provides 24 recommendations.
  • Aged and Community Sector Technology and Innovation Practice: A Report on what the Research and Evidence is Indicating (2019): A summary of the contemporary evidence (2016 – 2019) of impactful and quality technology and innovation which provides the latest and greatest to inform strategic thinking.
  • Capabilities in Aged & Community Care Readiness: An Evaluation of Innovation & Technology (CARE-IT) (2020): Aimed at assessing the innovation and technology capabilities and readiness of the aged and community care industry in five (5) key areas (1) Business Support and Administration, (2) Reporting and Online Access to Government (3) Surveillance and Monitoring Technologies (4) Telehealth and (5) Smart Care at Home Technologies. The report tabled nine (9) recommendations covering digital maturity, investment strategies, Business to Government (B2G), national benchmarking, new innovative service models, workforce, standards, assessment strategies and economic recovery.

The ACIITC looks forward to working with the Government to ensure the recommendations are implemented and ensure the quality and safety of services and support for Older Australians are underpinned by impactful, evidence-based innovation technology approaches.