08 Aug 2018

The role of IT in caring for an ageing population

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in enabling home-based and community aged care providers to fulfill the needs of Australia’s ageing population.

The number of people in Australia aged 65 and over is projected to double by 2055; growing from 3.6 million in 2014-15 to almost 9 million or 23% of the population.

In addition, more and more older Australians are choosing to live, with support from a primary carer, in their own homes rather than in an aged care facility1. Research indicates that enabling older people to stay in their homes can lead to positive health outcomes – with fewer hospital admissions, and scored higher on quality of life measures, with their overall costs also being 20 percent lower than for traditional care.2

Thanks to Consumer Directed Care (CDC) initiatives, older people and their families also now have greater control over their healthcare – and deregulation of the sector means the market is becoming increasingly competitive.

For aged care providers who provide at-home care, technology can play a vital role in generating operational efficiencies, ensuring better levels of care, and facilitating improved decision making.

Here’s how:

1. More automated, streamlined admin

The aged care sector requires extensive paperwork. To stay compliant and secure funding, providers need to complete large amounts of documentation and supply evidence of their performance and care outcomes. With the right technology in place, creating these reports on a regular basis – and sharing them with the right people – can be done quickly and easily. Without the right systems, reporting can very quickly turn into an administrative nightmare. Want to know more about how technology can streamline the reporting and compliance process? Talk to us.

2. Data-led decision making

By putting systems in place to capture, analyse and react to real-time data, aged care providers can make much more accurate, efficient decisions which benefit the business, as well as the people within their care. For instance, Brennan IT works with our sister company, Superfluid, to help aged care organisations implement Microsoft Power BI – giving them access to a whole raft of information on their business, via real-time visualisations, data models and advanced analytics. Armed with insights from Power BI, businesses can very quickly determine which areas of the business can be improved, and which require additional focus.
A home care provider, for instance, could use data analysis to track the average time of home visits, and build its costing model accordingly. Similarly, a provider could track the financial outlay associated with particular consumables – such as bandages or paracetamol medication – to determine where and how items are being issued.

3. Managing remote workers

Managing a team of remote workers can be both costly and difficult – unless you have the right technology in place. With an appropriate technology solution, however, providers can ensure the appropriate workers are always allocated to the most appropriate jobs, the status of a job and a particular visit is accurately recorded, and that field service workers have the information they need at their fingertips.

A carer who is going out to visit an older person in their home for the first time, for instance, could simply use their smartphone or tablet to check the address they need to go to, the estimated travel time, and if the person has any particular medical needs to be addressed. Once at the home, they could enter an update regarding the person’s health and what happened during the visit – rather than waiting until they are back at the office to enter any notes. By doing so, healthcare workers can be far more efficient, and improve the overall level of care they are able to offer individual consumers.

4. Supporting remote workers

To operate effectively, remote workers also need their devices – and their access to information – around the clock. Brennan IT can also offer direct support to mobile workers to ensure this is the case.

Recognising that mobile healthcare teams don’t typically work 9am – 5pm, Brennan IT offers direct support 24/7, which means we can help if – for instance – a healthcare worker is locked out of a device, can’t connect to a particular app, or is having trouble accessing the details for an upcoming job.

5. Disaster recovery and backup

For an organisation within the aged care sector, IT downtime can be extremely inconvenient as well as costly. In fact, research indicates that for a small to medium business, the cost of downtime can exceed $100,000 per hour.3

Despite this, the disaster recovery and backup systems and processes relied upon by many home care and community health providers are no longer sufficient. To maintain continuity and be ready for any situation, thorough planning and strategy is critical. This involves having both a reliable data backup process in place, as well as a disaster recovery solution.

Brennan IT can help by providing rigorous solutions that are completely tailored to individual organisations – ensuring that if a disaster occurs, the business can be back up and running extremely quickly – without disruption to essential services.

Want to find out more?

You can also contact the team at Brennan IT on 1300 500 000

 

1 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-20/growing-older-at-home-cheaper-more-popular/8543848

2 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-20/growing-older-at-home-cheaper-more-popular/8543848

3 https://www.zerto.com/infographics/the-disaster-recovery-challenge/thechallenges.html

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