As healthcare organisations across Australia face increasing cost pressures and demands, it’s more important than ever to leverage the transformative power of technology. We caught up with Martin Corden, Trident’s Business Development Manager, and Peter Gunn from Homestyle Aged Care to talk about technology and its impact on the aged care industry.
Q: What are some of the main challenges you see aged care providers currently facing?
Martin: I think one of the big challenges they face is continuing to provide compassionate care in a COVID-19 safe setting. With reduced visitor numbers, staff need to spend more quality time with residents and less time on admin tasks, which is where IT can help staff be as efficient as possible.
Peter: Common barriers to digital health adoption include lack of data, lack of technology knowledge and legacy IT systems, to name a few. On top of this, aged care providers are also facing mounting cost pressures and limited availability of technology. Overcoming these challenges and finding the right type of technology for both improved resident outcomes and more productive working environments is key in 2021 and beyond.
Q: Why is technology critical to aged care in 2021 and beyond?
Martin: As providers embrace digital medication and care recording systems, high-speed, reliable, and pervasive Wi-Fi within the facility is more important than ever. Reduced visitors mean the wireless system is also crucial to enable loved ones to have some facetime with residents.
Peter: I couldn’t agree more. A fast and reliable network is important for keeping our residents happy. For example, good Wi-Fi means an uninterrupted connection to loved ones and entertainment which helps a lot with wellbeing. Effective technology also allows our staff to deliver better care and work more efficiently.
Q: How can technology help with the challenges presented by COVID-19?
Martin: Contact tracing has become extremely important in many industries. We use Aruba Networks technology to help our aged care customers implement effective COVID-19 contact tracing that tracks visitor movement throughout the facility should that be necessary. We also provide a range of other technology solutions that help solve common challenges such as remote working, telehealth and security.
Q: Peter, can you talk us through a couple of recent examples where you’ve seen technology make a significant difference to Homestyle?
Peter: Our Aruba Wi-Fi deployment by Trident last year had a massive impact, allowing Homestyle residents to stream, make video calls and enjoy smooth communication. Aging technology couldn’t deliver all of these services for our residents, so we invested in new, more robust devices.
With the combination of Aruba access points, switches and Aruba Central, Homestyle’s IT team have also been spending less time managing the infrastructure and more time focused on delivering the care services and experiences their nurses and residents rely on.
Q: In what ways can aged care providers improve their IT infrastructure security?
Martin: It’s obviously critical for all aged care providers to secure their systems to protect them against data exfiltration and disruption from malicious attacks. This requires a multi-layer approach to security including network security, email security, end-point security and firewall security as a minimum.
Q: How do better technology solutions and network infrastructure improve both resident and staff experiences and outcomes?
Martin: A good network will enable staff to communicate and collaborate and get their work done as efficiently and securely as possible. Residents also need to be able to communicate and interact with the outside world. This is more important than ever during these COVID-induced lockdowns.
Q: What advice do you have for aged care providers who are struggling with barriers to adopting new technologies?
Peter: Technology and innovation to enable better care for residents are regarded as business cost. Looking at this from an investment point of view—innovation and technology deliver outcomes for our residents. It’s a cost to the business but also a cost saver in the long run as it’s time saving. We save time working behind the desk (manual work) so we can spend more time in front of our residents.
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