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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Technology critical for delivering equitable, efficient, and economic outcomes into our future: Opinion

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by Jason Waller, CEO InteliCare

This year’s budget for aged care is substantial, but disappointingly misdirected. Unfortunately, it is completely absent on reforms that will create real benefits for Australia’s elderly.

While it does deliver important assistance to residential care, where our most vulnerable live, this system will only become more and more overloaded without more investment in at-home care and monitoring technology to allow those that wish to age in their own home the means to do so.

As we face staff shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, the Government can no longer rely on existing models of aged care and service delivery.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety consulted on the industry five years ago and the most important recommendation was for technology to be rolled out to support ageing-in-place.

The time for consultation is over. We already have the answers. Now is the time for action and to execute what the Royal Commission found.

Jason Waller

This budget was a missed opportunity to act on that recommendation. Instead, far too much money has been allocated to governance, investigations and more consulting.

The time for consultation is over. We already have the answers. Now is the time for action and to execute what the Royal Commission found.

The Government is facing a critical structural problem. The population is ageing. The aged care requirement is growing. There are not enough workers to support the demand.

Of course, payments to staff are certainly welcome and workers must be commended for the tremendous job they are doing under very difficult circumstances. But more money simply isn’t going to fix the structural issues of a critical workforce shortage.

Until we work smarter, empowering workers with technology that allows them to deliver better care to more people more efficiently, the budget simply goes unspent and services continue to go undelivered.

Until we work smarter, empowering workers with technology that allows them to deliver better care to more people more efficiently, the budget simply goes unspent and services continue to go undelivered.

Jason Waller

This is particularly pertinent for the aged and health care markets outside metropolitan Australia.

The money that’s been allocated to navel-gazing on a problem already well studied could be far better allocated to the delivery of better home care packages, especially in regional and remote areas where there is a serious lack of services.

Health outcomes and access to care and hospital services should not be determined by location or access to capital. Equity demands that all Australians, irrespective of where they live, have access to the same standards of aged care and support.

Increasing technology will be required to play a part in delivering equitable, efficient, and economic outcomes and services thereby permitting limited human health resources to address critical care issues.

InteliCare CEO Jason Waller says technology comes at such a low cost compared
to that of aged care and hospitalisation and the benefits to older people, their
families and communities are priceless.

Equally, important technology will enable early interventions before situations develop into medical crises.

We want to see investment in technology like in-house intelligent monitoring and predictive solutions for older Australians.

The kind of technology that will ensure early intervention and stop situations that can become a medical crisis and ultimately result in a one-way trip to a nursing home.

This is particularly important in rural and regional areas where moving into a care facility often means moving hundreds of kilometres from friends and family.

Investment in technology also helps the budget bottom line.

Ensuring older Australians age safely at home (where they want to be) reduces government spending on aged care facilities and early intervention means fewer unplanned hospital admissions.

The money that’s been allocated to navel-gazing on a problem already well studied could be far better allocated to the delivery of better home care packages, especially in regional and remote areas where there is a serious lack of services.

Jason Waller

The allocation of $6.1m for regional teams to improve community and engagement and planning only for six months will not deliver one hour of services and is a missed opportunity.

For much less, technology like ours could help more than 1000 elderly for over two years across regional areas where services don’t exist, and allow families to remain together in the same community.

  • Jason Waller is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of aged care technology company, InteliCare.
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