Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2013 Contents If you 've ever worked in the banking
industry you would most certainly
agree that technology is, technology
is part of the sector's DNA, because
banks cannot live without IT.
In aged and community care, the case
is evidently very different. When I talk to
managers across our industry, I find the
vast majority see technology as something
to help them do what they do now. They do
not see it as a potential game changer.
For technology to be part of your
organisation's DNA, it needs to be
entrenched and in use every day, and yet
almost go unnoticed. In the same way that
stethoscopes or blood pressure monitors
are 'just there' in the medical world, and
used as required, with little or no thought
given to their use.
In contrast, IT systems are often seen
as an impediment to care, something
that have to be used, and data to be
entered, all for someone else's benefit.
If this is your view, technology is not part
of your DNA.
LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
Within the aged and community care sector,
the Silver Chain Group is known for its
innovative use of technology. It is, after all,
a care as well as a logistics organisation.
Its direct care staff travel over 20 million
kilometres a year and it needs to put the
right care into the right home at the right
time 5000 times a day. This is no small task.
To the question 'Is this technology
part of Silver Chain's DNA?' my short
answer is 'yes'. Every employee has
either a desktop computer or smartphone
(or both) connected to ComCare, our
integrated enterprise system. They are
tools of the trade that are used day in,
day out, without thought.
ComCare, the Silver Chain Group's
flagship system, is very much part of the
organisation's DNA and has consciously
evolved over many years. Today it is
fully integrated across all levels and
supports multifaceted business needs
including scheduling and rostering,
risk management, mobility, wound
care, training, packaged care including
consumer-directed care, care plans,
service delivery and business intelligence.
Not only does the technology help the
Silver Chain Group deliver good quality care;
they can deliver better (and more) services
and care because of this technology.
Some examples of the more
sophisticated and innovative technology
Silver Chain uses or plans to use are:
• Mobile technology
Smart phones with all the information
a carer needs at the client's home,
including where to go, what to do,
alerts, tasks, messaging, data entry
and voice calls. For example, online
timesheets for improved accuracy,
real time information and reduced
Smart scheduling and rostering
Optimised scheduling and rostering using
clustering and sequencing algorithms can
eliminate unnecessary travel between
client visits. This innovation again has
enormous potential for efficiency savings,
better management of field staff and
significant cost reduction.
• Sharing information with others in
aged care such as GPs
Electronic referrals and electronic
discharge summaries from our Home
Hospital to GPs.
• Video conferencing and
Video conferencing from your desktop to
a nurse in the client's home.
• Electronic medical records and
medication management being
shared from hospitals
Doctors will be able to order diagnostic
tests and then view and acknowledge
results from within ComCare, all done
• Active engagement in Telehealth
monitoring of clients
Doctors, specialists and clinical staff will
be able to view observations collected by
Which, if any, of these innovative
technologies is your organisation looking at?
How is your organisation going to change
'the game' before your competitors do?
CAPTURE THE POSSIBILITIES
I believe you can make technology part
of your DNA by taking advantage of
identified opportunities via the early and
deliberate adoption of new systems, such
as telehealth and assistive technologies.
To be successful as an innovative
game-changing organisation you must
also focus on high standards of service
and sophistication, and eliminate your
weaknesses in IT systems that are not
aligned to your strategic business focus.
Have a vision of the future and keep
refreshing and building upon your IT
systems to achieve that vision. The
technology has to be useful to everyone,
including those who capture the
information, and it should be reached
for -- and used -- almost without thought.
Only then can it truly become part of your
Allan Turner is the CEO of EOS
Modern technologies like mobile and tablet devices are
no longer a luxurious add-on -- they are part of our social
DNA. But in your typical aged care services workplace,
Allan Turner writes, it's a different story. So, he asks, is
technology part of your organisation's DNA?
34 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2013 | AAA
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