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ICT in Aged Care: 5 Things You Must Do When Changing or Upgrading Technology
If you’re like me and you have been in the aged care industry for a while (or even if you’ve just joined), you’ve likely realized that we (the industry) have a remarkable ability to resist change, especially when it comes to technology.
For most aged care providers, It can be a challenge to know where to start when you are upgrading or changing your ICT systems. Budgets, expertise and time are limited, change is hard, and implementing new systems costs an arm and a leg if you want to do it properly.
If you have taken on the mantle of driving change in your ICT systems (or been volunteered), I hope this will give you the helpful advice you will need to effectively transform your ICT structures, without terrifying your boss/coworkers or breaking the bank. You might find this surprising, but the key to a successful transformation does not solely lie in deep knowledge of technology and systems, but rather the approach you have and how you communicate about the changes.
Have the right attitude
The first step to success as an ICT leader is all about having determination, a strategic mindset, a gutsy communication plan, and a healthy dose of “if I get knocked down, I’ll get back up again” attitude. Beware, resistance is everywhere and the road is long.
The second step to success is being resourceful. Even if you are in an organization with money to spare, your ICT strategy should consist of cleverly weighted decisions that will get you optimal results. Being a transformational ICT leader means you are always looking for every possible resource at your disposal to bring about the change you have imagined.
Get up to date on regulations and funding
Thirdly, get educated on your environment and possible funding you may have at your disposal. Crucially, keep your finger on new regulations and policies so you can ensure that your changes will remain in compliance with the RACC.
Recently the Royal Commission released an ICT Strategy and Architecture Review report outlining a series of recommendations that the government and providers should adopt to improve the quality of life for Australians in aged care. The report highlighted a number of deficiencies in the aged care sector, including:
- Disconnected business processes,
- Lack of data collection and sharing,
- Poor interoperability,
- Obsolete technology, and
- A fundamental lack of standardisation.
Many of the recommendations are geared towards the government but there are some helpful recommendations for providers to consider. You can read the full report by clicking this link.
Now that you’re up to speed on the RACC report and upcoming changes to regulations and funding, you’re ready to start formulating your strategic roadmap and comparing providers.
There are a host of IT providers that have emerged over the years that specialize in aged care organisations and complying with the often stricter regulations they must adhere to. Ideally, your provider will specialize in – and have a proven history of working with – aged care and retirement organizations.
A good provider will also partner with you in formulating and implementing your ICT transformation, and be willing to customise the technology to an extent to suit your organisations’ unique needs. Depending on what type of ICT you are looking for, I find a great place to start can be looking at industry bodies like Innovageing and what their recommendations are. For example, we are a Gold Member of Innovageing for our social technology that helps to curb isolation and aid staff communication in retirement and aged care facilities.
Before you finalise your selection of provider, it is a good idea to take a step back and revisit what you want to achieve in your ICT transformation, so you can ensure everyone is aligned with the foundations of your roadmap.
Revisit your roadmap
Your strategic roadmap should consist of your goals (are you looking to improve data consistency, or perhaps drive greater productivity in your client management teams?), a gap analysis of your current ICT system and desired future capabilities, a release plan consisting of key milestones in terms of how you will go about implementing the new software, the resources you will need to conduct the implementation and level of staff training and in-house support at your disposal. You may also want to include any risk mitigation plans you will have in place to protect your existing systems and preserve your data integrity and privacy.
A useful question to consider at this stage is, ‘Does my current ICT roadmap (if I have one) cover off on the recommendations listed in the report by the Royal Commission?’ If you are looking for justification for further investment in or commitment to your IT roadmap from the board or executive then engaging with the recommendations is a great resource to build further support.
If you’re interested in learning more about ICT transformation (especially if it’s social technology transformations) and/or driving technology adoption in your villages please get in touch! I am always available for a chat about tech in aged care (or whatever else you want to discuss)
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