Innovation and technology in the elderly care sector

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The challenges facing the aged care sector have attracted a lot of attention lately due to the Royal Commission on the Quality and Safety of Care for the Aged and the COVID-19 pandemic, also highlighting the significant labor issues in this sector. These challenges relate to the vulnerable people who benefit from aged care services and the labor issues evident across the Australian economy, but particularly prevalent in the aged care sector, difficulties in generating revenue and increasing associated costs.

The two main workforce issues faced by aged care providers are the management and composition of the workforce, and the quality and safety of care delivery. In response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations, the Department of Health presented a $17.7 billion plan that focuses on five pillars, over five years. These pillars are home care, residential aged care services and sustainability, quality and safety of residential aged care, workforce and governance.

Innovation and technology can offer solutions to help organizations manage these challenges; however, it is important to understand and address the various compliance and privacy issues that may arise from data collection associated with the use of technologies.

The partners Hayden Delaney and Joanne O’Brienspecial adviser Steven Hunwick and partner Matthew Cartwright discuss these questions and more at a recent seminar.

Technology supply

The technology enables healthcare providers to reduce costs, better interact with their staff and patients, and supports the consistent delivery of high-quality care, while simultaneously monitoring safety and regulatory requirements.

These technological solutions include the use of biometric technology and automatic data collection to monitor the duration of care. These solutions offer providers the ability to demonstrate that they comply with regulatory requirements and offer great attention to individuals, this has a non-financial cost, being the collection and retention of personal information.

Workforce management and alignment

In the elderly care sector, providers are facing an estimated 20% cost increase due to changes in the Social, Home Care and Disability Services Industry price (SCHADS price). The changes followed a review by the Fair Work Commission and came into effect on July 1, 2022.

The biggest impact is the requirement that shifts be at least two hours long. Since some customers only receive services for 0.5 or 1.0 hours at a time, providers should schedule shifts of at least two hours with workers to provide services to multiple consumers close enough geographically , in order to minimize the cost of travel time.

In residence:

• From October 2022, government funding will be tied to care records under the Australian National Classification for Aged Care (AN-ACC) funding model (legislation on this is expected to be passed during the first session of the new parliament.)

• From October 2023, providers will be required to meet the mandatory care time standard of an average of 200 minutes per day for each resident, including 40 minutes of RN time. Facilities will also need to have an AI on site for at least 16 hours a day.

The increased use of technology in aged care facilities, in forms such as GPS tracking, CCTV and RFID, may raise some privacy concerns for both staff and patients receiving care in the facilities. and home care environments.

It is important to understand the legal issues associated with tracking caregivers and implementing increased surveillance. To ensure that business priorities are met and also address the legal issues involved, facilities must ensure that they operate in compliance with privacy law and are transparent with caregivers and clients on the how information is collected and used.

Quality and safety

Aged care providers have a number of obligations under the Aged Care Act. One of them is to ensure that they provide care and services that meet the requirements of quality standards of care for the elderly and to report incidents or allegations of abuse within the framework of the program. response to a serious incident.

Similarly, there is an obligation to respond to complaints from care recipients and representatives regarding the quality of care and services. Complaints can be made directly to the provider or through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. In order to meet these quality and safety standards, enhanced surveillance at facilities will need to satisfy both state workplace and surveillance laws and federal privacy law, and review and resolve the following issues:

  1. What is a Private Chat?
  2. Who is part of a private conversion?
  3. Has the appropriate consent been received?

How to Scale Innovation Efforts While Protecting Intellectual Property

An important element of innovating and improving industry efforts can often take the form of a partnership with a university or research organization. However, this collaboration also raises several intellectual property issues that should be considered and resolved.

Specifically, where the innovation is developed using contributions from each partner, or research and development funding comes from a separate funder, consideration should be given to intellectual property issues and future commercialization rights during the pre-collaboration stages. If research, development, or testing is funded by a government grant, for example, it is important to review the grant agreement to agree ownership of deliverables, key intellectual property assets, and commercialization rights before to engage.

Cybersecurity Considerations

According to a recent study, approximately 30% of global data is currently generated by the healthcare sector. By 2025, the CAGR of data collected for the healthcare sector will reach 36%, which is higher than the manufacturing, entertainment or financial services sectors.

The connection between technology and healthcare has been reinforced by the fallout from COVID-19 and the need to digitize everything from appointments to prescriptions. It also makes the aged care sector a prime target for cybercrime, which involves repeated attacks by organized cybercriminals for the high-value information and urgent nature of the work.

In June 2020, just months into the pandemic, the University of California Medical School was targeted and sensitive data was held for ransom, forcing the university to pay over $1 million. Americans to continue his important research. Additionally, in October 2021, the healthcare system that serves the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada was hit by a devastating ransomware attack which, according to a local expert, was the “worst cyber attack in the world”. ‘Canadian history’. Employee and patient data has been stolen and thousands of vital appointments, including chemotherapy sessions, have been canceled or delayed. These are just two of the hundreds of cyberattacks that occur every week around the world.

In 2021, it was reported that there were an average of 830 cyberattacks each week (up 71% from 2020), with many of these businesses unable to recover from these attacks.

The healthcare sector continues to experiment and align with Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, including wearable biometrics, infusion pumps and patient monitors in hospitals, or biometric devices take-out, connected wheelchairs, automated prescriptions, online MRI machines. These solutions result in a larger “attack surface” and can increase the potential for security breaches. It is important for a facility to recognize how to minimize the potential attack surface and reduce risk to the organization, which includes a combination of people, process, and technology. Organizations need to think about how to minimize this potential attack surface and reduce risk to the organization, which is a combination of people, process, and technology.

This is a complex and growing area of ​​discussion as the aged care industry continues to innovate and more technology is deployed in service delivery. To avoid unauthorized IP ownership and data breach issues, it is important to address these challenges early by ensuring that an organization has the appropriate procedures and processes in place with respect to privacy laws. privacy in a state or territory, and cybersecurity prevention tactics.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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