Need for greater data standards across aged care sector

Thursday, 09 November, 2023

Need for greater data standards across aged care sector

A new initiative from the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) is aiming to standardise the management of data within residential aged care.

The project, Aged Care Data Compare Plus, will test a prototype aged care quality indicator application developed by CSIRO and the University of Queensland. This app will extract data from Regis Aged Care’s clinical information system, AutumnCare, in a consistent, secure format to support the calculation of evidence-based quality indicators.

The project follows a recent report, produced by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC), on clinical care software in residential aged care. According to its findings, residential aged care providers are using multiple digital devices, but there is limited integration of these within an organisation, and only a small majority of providers believe their current clinical software provides effective functionality.

The report highlighted a need for standardised terminology across the sector, greater resources and minimum standards for technology platforms. Providers should also be engaging in research and development activities with respect to clinical software.

“This report reinforces the challenges facing the aged care sector with the lack of data, terminology and conformance standards; and the continuity-of-care issues […] that must be addressed,” said DHCRC CEO Annette Schmiede.

The Aged Care Data Compare Plus project is the type of critical initiative identified in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety as being required to help reform the aged care sector, Schmiede said.

“We are now looking to garner broader industry and sector support for an evidence-based quality benchmarking and reporting solution that the whole industry can get behind,” she added.

“There are many complex issues around privacy, security, compatibility, but this is exactly what the DHCRC was established to do; building the evidence-base to demonstrate the value and application of digital health innovations for doctors, clinicians, patients and governments.”

ACIITC and ADHA’s report, ‘Residential Aged Care Use of Clinical Care Systems’, can be accessed here.

Image credit: Marjanovic

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