A new strategic alliance between a leading global health care services provider and an aged care software developer is looking to capitalise on the growing appetite of Australian seniors to go digital post global pandemic.
Tunstall Healthcare has announced a formal agreement with Brisbane-based tech start-up Conpago to disrupt old-fashioned service delivery models still operating in retirement living, home care and residential aged care environments.
Launching the Conpago digital care management platform to be offered by Tunstall, Conpago CEO Ali Galadari said the pandemic had smashed the technology barrier for a large proportion of seniors.
“The requirement for QR codes and check-in apps because of COVID-19 has seen many older Australians embrace smart devices in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Galadari said.
“Combine that with the broad recognition of the benefits of virtual services like telehealth and online meetings and it opens up an entirely new way of thinking for retirement villages, home and community care and aged care operators.”
The Conpago platform is already successfully operating in one Brisbane retirement village and will be made available to Tunstall’s thousands of retirement village clients from this month.
Tunstall’s commercial director, Trent Gifford, said the innovation was an exciting new chapter in the company’s 65-year history of remote monitoring and personal emergency care.
“Tunstall and Conpago have a shared goal to improve the health and wellbeing of older Australians who want to remain in the home of their choosing and live independently for as long as possible,” Gifford said.
“We started the rollout in a single village that uses Tunstall products and services and by the end of 2021, we will have it available to all retirement living operators in Australia and New Zealand.
“By March 2022 our intention is to extend our offering to Home and Community Care providers and by June we hope to have a version for independent seniors to support their ageing in place.
“There are features for residential aged-care operators currently in development that we also hope to launch around this time next year.”
Galadari said the technology, delivered as a simple-to-use app, has been embraced by retirement village operators and residents alike and the feedback has been only positive.
“Village managers see real value in being able to share documents with residents, send broadcast messages and chat one-on-one with them, create and manage community events and individual appointments, provide curated video, audio and other visual content, as well as view daily check-ins by residents,” Galadari said.
“For residents, it’s like a cross between a classic banking app and a social media network. They can create community events and private events, chat resident to resident, form chat groups or interact directly with their village manager.
“In the palm of their hand they can also access important village documents, do a daily check-in with the click of a button, or make a maintenance request, all in a secure and private platform.”
The result of five years of research and development, Version 1 of the Conpago app has just some of the features enabled.
Version 2 of the app, available in March 2022, will allow customers to book and pay for services; receive services securely via video; and schedule telehealth consultations.
“Family members and close friends will also be able to download the secure app, provided the customer grants them access, to see and interact on day-to-day care, and receive real-time information about their loved ones’ wellbeing,” Gifford said.
For retirement village or aged care operators, the platform will streamline communication, customer support, rostering, virtual service delivery and other business administration tasks.
It will also retain a full log of the services provided, when and to whom, reducing paperwork and phone calls, and replacing time consuming manual practices while also enhancing on-site safety.
A key aspect of the final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was recognition of the role technology can play in transforming the sector and improving the lives of older Australians.
Major limitations like patchy digital record keeping and a lack of cohesion between systems across government, aged care services, hospitals and other health care providers were highlighted by Commissioner Lynelle Briggs.
According to the Property Council of Australia – Retirement Living, more than 200,000 seniors already live in retirement communities across Australia.
With the number of people aged 85 years and over projected to increase to 1.5 million or 3.7 per cent of the population by 2058, innovations like the Conpago platform will be vital to helping older Australians age safely and happily in place.