The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established to report on the quality of aged care services and whether those services are meeting the needs of the older Australian community. This includes care for older people living at home, people living with dementia, and people living in residential aged care including younger people with disabilities.
Epicor has significant experience with the concerns and needs of Aged Care, especially in Australia where Epicor SLS - Senior Living Solutions - forms one of the core pillars of the product, along with the traditional modules of general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and so on.
Consequently, Epicor is concerned the Royal Commission delivers recommendations that leverage technology for the best outcomes of this important part of the Australian community. The company has developed its own set of Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations including a new common aged care program, universal adoption of digital technology, data governance, more stringent disclosure requirements, provider performance and quality ratings, reviewed staffing, and an amended or new funding model.
“The technology components in any organisation are critical to the way a business can operate effectively and efficiently to deliver their services. In the context of the aged care sector, the importance of ICT capability is magnified even further, as the day-to-day wellbeing of older clients is directly dependent on these systems.
“There is an abundance of tools within the current ICT ecosystem contributing to the complexity and inefficiency of service delivery. Many of these systems are predominantly focussed on the financial aspects of providing care and provide little value to caregiving services. Another contributing factor to this is that many of these systems do not interoperate and share information easily, if at all. The flow of effect leads to duplication of effort and ultimately impacts the quality of care provided.
“However, there are now tech-savvy home care providers that are implementing smart technology in the homes of aged care clients to help in the provision of care. These kinds of implementations are already happening to great effect as they have provided user-friendly technology as well as training and support to clients to use the technology. This kind of technology will become increasingly important as the number of home care recipients grows in the next 10-20 years — but we must be at the head of this curve.”
Epicor’s recommendations in more detail are:
New common aged care program
Implement by 2024 a new common aged care program that combines all existing resident, respite and home care programs. This mandates a single assessment framework and also the ability for a care recipient to enjoy benefits for different categories of care simultaneously. Providers would benefit from a solution that provides a single client record and able to support operations and funding for all categories of aged care.
Data governance and minimum data set
Set up and implement by July 2023 a minimum data set that allows easier data sharing, integration and interoperability. Software solutions that are able to integrate through open-source APIs would be needed. ICT systems would also need to be able to provide reporting for quality indicators, prudential requirements, and other reporting requirements.
Universal adoption of digital technology and My Health Record
Recommend mandating the digital care management (including medication management) system, meeting the standards of ADHA’s My Health record. All providers would need to be able to update and share health data through my Health record for all clients who have opted in.
More stringent and continuous disclosure requirements
Recommend continuous disclosure needs for events that could affect financial viability and capacity to care for any provider. Reporting of serious incidents would also be needed. Integrated financial and Business Intelligence tools that can integrate with and report data from disparate systems would enable providers to meet this requirement more efficiently.
Provider performance and quality ratings
Providers should be graded against industry standards and quality standards. Impacting on providers' business and occupancy, managers would need regular reports on these indicators to be able to take corrective actions.
Aged care workforce and minimum staff time for residential care
Propose mandating minimum qualifications and training standards for staff working in aged care and also define minimum staff time by care type per resident in care. Providers would need to implement HR systems that would be able to record appropriate staff and qualifications details while also providing a rostering system to schedule the appropriate amount of care for each carer category for each resident in their homes. Periodic reporting of staff hours by care type would also be needed.
Funding in the new aged care system
Recommend an amended or new funding model that better allows aged care providers to meet the care needs of both people in residential care as well as those in-home care. Software providers would need to design and implement the new funding model once finalised.
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