Webinar – National Aged Care data strategy consultation – 5 October 2022

We partnered with the AIHW to progress a national aged care data system. On this webinar hosted on 5 October 2022, we talked with providers, advisory groups, aged care industry representatives, researchers, academics, older Australians and consumer groups, to hear their feedback.


Greg Pugh:

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to today’s webinar on the National Aged Care Data Strategy. First I would like to introduce myself and my fellow panel members. My name is Greg Pugh. I am the Assistant Secretary of the System Policy and Evidence Branch in the Reform Implementation Division of the Department of Health and Aged Care. With us today we have Jason Fraser who is the Assistant Secretary, ICT Strategy Business Assurance Branch also in the Reform Implementation Division of the Department of Health and Aged Care. Louise York joins us from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare where she is the head of the Community Services Group. And to round out the panel we have Mark Booth who is a Principal at Nous Group.

Before I go any further I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the various lands on which we are meeting today. In Canberra that is the Ngunnawal people and I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I would also like to acknowledge any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here with us today.

In terms of the agenda I just wanted to give you a brief overview of what the next hour looks like. Shortly I will provide an overview of the aged care reform context. Jason will then provide an overview of what our whole of Government and health and aged care strategic ecosystems look like. Jason will also provide an overview of the work he is leading in relation to the Aged Care Digital Strategy, its alignment with the Aged Care Data Strategy and how it fits within those broader ecosystems.

Louise York is the brains behind the operation when it comes to the Aged Care Data Strategy and that will be the focus of her part of the webinar. Mark will then take us through the Aged Care Data Strategy consultation approach and there will be plenty of time left at the end for questions and answers from the audience.

In terms of housekeeping as I mentioned we will have a Q&A at the end of session. For any questions throughout the webinar please write them in the Q&A section available at the bottom right hand side of the screen. We will also publish written replies to questions we receive throughout the session.

Before I hand over I wanted to do a little bit of scene setting around aged care reform. I won’t rehash too much of history particularly as it relates to the last 18 months but I would re‑emphasise that the Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety provided us a platform to enact a change within aged care. In particular the final report requires us to create better aged care services and a better standard of care for older Australians. The current Government made aged care a key area of focus in its recent election campaign and has committed to implementing practical measures to ensure our aged care system meets the needs of older Australians.

The Government’s plan to improve aged care includes commitments to having a registered nurse in every aged care home on site 24 hours a day 7 days a week, mandating that every Australian in aged care receives 215 minutes of care per resident per day, a pay rise for aged care workers, better food for residents and improved transparency and accountability for how Government funding is spent to deliver care and services to older Australians.

Data, digital transformation and capability building are essential enablers to aged care reform. A little later on in the session Louise will be talking to you about the work underway to develop an Aged Care Data Strategy along with the national minimum dataset and the aged care data asset. But first I will hand over to my colleague Jason Fraser who will talk in more detail about the strategic context in which we are operating and the Digital Strategy.

Jason Fraser:

Thanks Greg. Hi everyone. Thanks for your time this afternoon. My name’s Jason Fraser. I’m the Assistant Secretary of the ICT Strategy and Business Assurance Branch in the Department and one of my key responsibilities is to develop a Digital Strategy for aged care.

One of the questions we receive frequently is how does the Aged Care Digital Strategy we’re developing fit with other strategies and objectives across Government. It’s a great question and as you can see from the diagram on screen it’s been very important for us to take the time and consider carefully how the Digital Strategy sits within and complements the broader strategic ecosystem. For example it’s critical that this strategy follows the lead of the Digital Economy and Digital Government Strategies.

The last thing we want is for one strategy or set of measures to work against broader digital objectives of Government.

When we look specifically at the health and aged care strategic ecosystem it’s equally important to ensure that we are clearly delineating between the various pieces of work underway and that each strategy has a clear focus or particular outcome it is striving to achieve.

So I wanted to just give a brief overview of the work we’re doing in developing an Aged Care Digital Strategy which we’ve called Digital Age.

The reason for the strategy primarily stems from recommendation 109 of the Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety which outlined the need for a strategy to guide developments in information and communication technologies. As a result the Aged Care Digital Strategy we’re developing will provide the aged care sector with a clear and purposeful vision of how digital will shape the aged care system from now until 2030. The primary objective of the strategy is to ensure that the needs of older Australians are paramount and more specifically that older Australians are well supported and provided with consistent and equitable access to information and services they need when they need them.

However it’s also important that we recognise the needs and objectives of all partners in the aged care system specifically aged care workers and carers, aged care providers, ICT vendors and Government agency and departments.

Relevantly the Royal Commission also made an important connection between data and the systems that collect and transmit that data.

They said information and communication systems used by approved providers of aged care should operate so that information that is routinely collected for their own purposes can assist them to meet responsibilities to provide data, including for the national aged care data asset.

The strategy that we’re developing includes five main principles to help guide our decisions, initiatives and investments.

Each principle is aligned to a particular partner in the aged care system. So the first principle is primarily for Government’s purposes, that the use of digital technologies should improve service reliability and trust.

Number two, a focus on older Australians being at the centre of this work, being well supported and with consistent, equitable access to information and the services they need when they need them. For providers, that new technology improves operations with more time to deliver quality services. For workers, a digital transformation that supports quality care and an individual’s wellbeing. And number five primarily for ICT vendors, that there should be an open, competitive marketplace designed in partnership to support digital solutions that meet the needs of all partners in the aged care sector.

Following on from the overarching strategy a key component of the strategy will be the development of an agreed enablement framework. This framework will set out very practical initiatives and activities required to realise the longer term vision for digital in aged care. This framework is intended to provide a platform for providers, workers and ICT vendors to participate in a collaborative way to genuinely meet the needs of older Australians. You can see here that each partner in the aged care system has specific needs from an enablement framework and that’s the key challenge, to ensure that all needs are reflected.

There will be many opportunities to engage in the development of an Aged Care Digital Strategy. Look out for further opportunities on the aged care engagement hub. Thanks again for your time and I’ll now hand over to Louise York to take you through the Aged Care Data Strategy.

Louise York:

Thanks Jason and good afternoon everyone. I’m Louise York, Assistant Secretary for the Community Services Group here at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. And thanks very much for coming along to listen to this today.

Before we start talking about the goals and features of a new Aged Care Data Strategy I’ve started with a slide that brings us back to what we’re considering the aged care data system to be. And as you can hopefully see on the slide it comprises the comprehensive range of data related to aged care in Australia and the arrangements that support its capture, use and sharing.

It includes aged care data such as information collected by services and reported to the Department of Health and Aged Care and of course lots of other data that’s highly relevant to aged care such as hospital admissions or emergency department data collected by state and territory Governments or Medicare usage data that’s supplied to the Commonwealth as a biproduct of the payment system.

The data system also really importantly includes the data governance, ICT and infrastructure arrangements associated with capturing, using and sharing these data including that digital enabling piece referred to by Jason. So this slide’s really been included just to help us understand the context of aged care data and the scope therefore of the national Aged Care Data Strategy.

So the AIHW has been funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care to work on several data improvement activities and key to all of these is the need to ensure that the strategy and some of the activities I’m going to describe today on the national minimum dataset and an aged care data asset benefit all users. And so it’s really important that in all of our activities we’re making sure that these are designed to support people to make informed choices about their care, providers to provide safe, high quality and dignified care, Government to design, administer and evaluate the aged care system and secondary users of data to study aged care.

So moving on to the next slide. The Royal Commission told us as did many reviews beforehand that aged care data is not fit for purpose. It’s fragmented and incomplete, of variable quality and hampered by inconsistent terminology, use and data definitions. Various recommendations from the Royal Commission went to data improvements including recommendations 67 and 108. And as part of both the previous and the current Government’s response to these issues a four year funding commitment has been made to develop an Aged Care Data Strategy.

It's intended that the strategy will drive the approach for developing and continually improving a comprehensive aged care data system that’s responsive to the needs of the different stakeholders and user groups I just referred to. It will aim to present an agreed vision for the future national aged care data system, describe why data improvements are needed, what they are and how they’ll be implemented. And it will aim to do this by for example setting a clear vision and purpose, making sure there are clear guiding principles developed through consultations such as this, and presenting a unifying and coordinating set of aged care data activities that work towards that vision via an implementation plan referred to as a roadmap on this slide.

And as part of that the strategy will aim to drive the adoption of ICT, infrastructure and governance arrangements that support the legal, ethical and safe data supply, storage, linkage and release of data and information so that it’s actually used to really inform decisions at all layers of the system.

The final version of the strategy is planned to be delivered in June 2024 and it has several core elements that you can see on the screen there that we go into more detail in the survey and some of the discussion guides that we have published that we’ll come to later.

So in addition to working with the Department and you all to design a data strategy we at the AIHW are leading work on two key areas of data improvement that will be really central to the strategy and this is the national minimum dataset and a data asset for aged care. And obviously both activities will be informed by consultation. The aged care national minimum dataset or NMDS for short will be a core set of standardised data elements for mandatory collection and reporting at a national level about aged care. The purpose of the NMDS is to improve data quality, comparability and usefulness and it will do this by establishing data standards and supporting metadata across aged care.

The plan is to develop the aged care NMDS progressively with content added over time. The first step has been to use clear criteria to identify and prioritise data items for its first version which will be refined through consultation over the next period of time and then published in mid-2023. And there will then be a program of regular updates after that.

And I think from the slide you can see that there are various benefits of having standardised information all the way from enabling the sector to embed data standards into software and practice through to consistent structures and information to enable data integration down the track.

The data asset will enable us to bring different data sources relating to aged care together using the process of data linkage. Its purpose will be to enable the integration of a whole range of existing data and improving data to bring that together so that it can have a person-centred focus and enable us to look at how people move between different forms of aged care and other parts of Government funded services and what their outcomes are.

So importantly the national minimum dataset is a minimum set of data items that have multiple uses. This slide’s quite small but it tries to highlight this by stepping through some of the key points in the aged care data lifecycle and really recognising that data are collected by providers for a range of reasons to provide care or manage a service and that information is typically recorded in a mixture of digital or paper forms in a whole range of different packages such as clinical software or staffing records and so on. A subset of that information is then provided on to various Government agencies for program management or regulation or other purposes and some of that information is also then warehoused and brought together to try and look at the whole aged care system. And some of that again is passed on to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare where we house it in a national aged care data clearing house that’s really designed to help facilitate aged care system and population health monitoring and research.

The main message from this slide is really to reiterate the point made by Jason earlier in the presentation and the point that was made by the Royal Commission, is the importance of reusing data that’s routinely collected for one purpose such as managing a person’s clinical care and reusing that for other purposes such as quality and safety monitoring. And so to do this clear data standards that provide guidance and definitions on the uses of these core pieces of information is really going to be an essential part of going forward with the data strategy.

And complementary to that national minimum dataset activity will be a range of other work on the digital front such as the creation of clinical information standards to guide the better capture of that information at point of care and work to improve the exchange of this information through digital interoperability standards. It will also be really important that the NMDS is able to link with other information so that we can look at people’s pathways and outcomes and that’s going to be the goal of the age care data asset development.

And I guess all of that, ensuring that all of those activities work together, they need to work together towards the same vision, and that’s what we’ll be trying to achieve with the aged care data strategy.

So with this in mind here are our key lines of enquiry. We’re really interested in hearing from you all about what future improvements to the aged care data system are important to you, what you consider are the most significant barriers and enablers for the data strategy, what outcomes you think are most important to the strategy and how you see this work delivering real improvements for people. So with that I will now hand to Mark Booth, Principal with Nous Consulting who’s assisting us with this. Thanks Mark.

Mark Booth:

That’s great. Thank you very much for that Louise. So my name’s Mark Booth. As was just said I’m a Principal with Nous based here in Canberra and we’re going to be engaging and working alongside the AIHW in terms of the consultation process associated with the Aged Care Data Strategy and the different strands that Louise has been talking about. And it will be an opportunity for different sectors and different individuals and groups to actually give feedback and information on those key lines of enquiry that Louise has just talked through.

It's probably important to say at the beginning that we should note that we are very aware of the fact that the AIHW has been consulting in various forms with the sector over the last 12 months and this has really shaped our thinking about what we’ve been developing, the materials that have been discussed and how we’re actually going to do that. And I should note that a number of the organisations that are represented today are taking part in this webinar are likely to have already provided some submissions to the Aged Care Data Strategy via the Department’s engagement hub. So we’re aware of that. We do know about that and we appreciate your effort if you have put those consultations in and we’ll ensure that that feeds into this round of consultation as well.

When we’ve been thinking about the consultation that we are going to be undertaking the three main groups of non-Government stakeholders that we’re concentrating on here are shown on this slide here. So we’ve got providers, and that of course includes aged care service providers, it includes peak bodies, and also organisations that enable providers such as IT, finance, HR services. So that wide range of organisations and groups across the sector that support those activities. We’d be interested in talking to researchers and academics both in universities and also in independent research organisations across the country. And of course crucially important that we talk to older Australians, so national associations, local associations representing older Australians, representing aged care service users and essentially those people looking and representing families and carers across the country.

In terms of doing this as ever with any consultation we recognise that different groups have different contexts and different approaches that they actually like to use when taking part in a consultation. So we’ve recognised that in putting together a consultation strategy we are looking at different ways for people to provide input and to link in to doing it.

So how are we going to do this? Well we’re going to be conducting consultation sessions with those non-Government stakeholder groups in October and November of this year. We’re going to use multiple engagement techniques to see whichever works best for the individuals and groups involved. So we’ll be looking at webinars such as this one that we’ve got on today, we’ll be looking at focus groups, individual interviews and importantly a survey, an online survey that people can fill in and provide input to. And we’re hoping that that survey gets a wide, wide range of responses.

To just briefly go through each of those areas in turn, webinars obviously. These are information sessions that we are going through at the moment. The idea here is to give that high level overview of what we are looking at and have that delivered by representatives of the Department of Health and Aged Care and the AIHW to cover the different data improvement activities as well as provide an opportunity for you as participants to ask questions of the people doing the presentations. So that’s one area.

The next area is through focus groups. So we will be doing small group sessions with specific groups of stakeholders to explore key questions, opportunities, issues that you’d like to be raised. These are going to be happening over the next few weeks. We will be doing those on the basis of an expression of interest and we’ll come to how you might do that in a few minutes. The purpose of the focus groups I guess are really to collect those collective insights that we can get best as part of a group.

Now for individuals we’ll be doing smaller sessions with key stakeholders that are most likely to be impacted by the changes that we’re talking about. These will be up to an hour and a half in length and we’ll focus on the areas that we’ve been discussing today but will be obviously much more in-depth and will be run throughout this month and probably into November as well.

I said before that we are going to be doing a survey. A general survey is currently available for all stakeholders. It can be accessed through the Gen Aged Care Data website. But I should say that following this webinar all participants will be given the opportunity, and you will be asked if you would like to do this, to actually go to the AIHW page that’s got a survey link on it and it also has a form for anybody who’s interested in being a part of the focus group, so an expression of interest form there.

So those are the key ways that we’re actually going to be doing engagements. I guess where to next? Well as with any engagement strategy like this the key part is getting people’s input. We would like as many people to be engaged and to take a part of this process as possible. Further information available on the website that you can see there. As I said before there will be a link at the end of this session but please ensure that you do that. After the consultations then there will be the usual process of analysing results and really working with the AIHW to ensure that the insights found are appropriately reflected in anything that may be taken forward.

So that’s just a brief summary of where we’re going now and I will hand back to Greg to take us into the Q&A session. Thank you.

Greg Pugh:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Q&A’, ‘If you have questions, please message the question to the chat now’, ‘If you would like to discuss or ask questions outside this webinar, please email:’, ‘Agedcare.Secretariat@aihw.gov.au’]

Many thanks Mark and thank you to our panellists who presented on their respective parts in the webinar. We were going to launch into a bit of a Q&A session and just looking at the Q&A chat on the bottom please if you’ve got any questions that you would like answered please submit them and we will make sure that we answer them either as part of this session or afterwards.

The first one goes to whether attendees will get slides and a recording. Yes we will publish both of those after the fact. And a reminder that we’re also having a second webinar at this time next week so that we can sort of capture anyone that we might have missed throughout part of this process.

Second question that I have got here is probably more of a comment but I will mention it anyway. So we had a webinar participant agree that older people and their family and carer should be included and that it’s very important that carer support services are captured because there is very little data including those across the range of respite services.

A question here possibly for Louise. Sorry to throw this one to you Lou. So there’s a question around the national minimum dataset and the question is:

q:         Will the NMDS and the data that it collects utilise data that is already submitted to various departments and won’t require re-entry into some other system by the service?

Louise York:

Thanks Greg. That’s certainly the goal. So the goal of the – and that’s partly why we’re having a progressive implementation is because we understand that there’s already an enormous amount of information collected by Government across different programs, aged care programs. The NMDS presents an opportunity to look at things that are common across those programs and make sure that when they’re common they’re collected in exactly the same way and also to really look holistically across the different programs of data and see if that information can be streamlined. So that’s really the answer. And it’s certainly not a new collection. It’s a collection that is intended to be derived from things that you’re already doing in the sector.

Greg Pugh:

Thanks Louise. And probably a follow up question to that is around:

Q:         What sort of data will you be collecting around First Nations participants?

Louise York:

Thanks. So quite a bit of information is already collected about First Nations people either as participants of mainstream programs or of Indigenous specific aged care services. So the intention is that it’s really important to capture information about Indigenous users of the aged care system and other groups specified in the Aged Care Act as requiring special attention such as people living in rural and remote areas. So that’s really high on our radar to try and make sure that that information’s available in the NMDS. And really importantly if information about that particular group goes through into the aged care data asset that we look at the data governance and ethics around using that information which is particularly important for any data about First Nations people.

Greg Pugh:

Thanks Louise. There’s a question here that I might take and this is one around whether or not the new Aged Care Act will have a role in the Aged Care Data Strategy. So the short answer is yes. So we would expect that the new Aged Care Act covers off to the extent that it needs to any sort of data collections and captures and privacy requirements and the like. But there will be a consultation process as part of the strategy but also of the new Aged Care Act around what we capture in primary legislation versus what might go into subordinate legislation or regulation.

There’s quite a few questions rolling in now so bear with me while I grab one.

It might be one for you again Louise. So this question here is around:

Q:         Which sections of the aged care sector are you focusing on at this stage? For example are we focusing primarily on residential or approved providers or CHSP?

Louise York:

We’re focusing on all of those but progressively picking key elements from each of those sectors for implementation as part of the national minimum dataset. But the aim of the strategy, the minimum dataset and the linked asset is to cover the whole aged care sector. So that’s the answer to that really.

Greg Pugh:

Thank you. I’m just scrolling through further questions as well. Because a lot of these seem to be probably ones that you’ll be best placed to answer. So there’s one here around:

Q:         How will the data be presented and how frequently at a national level?

Louise York:

So there’s currently a lot of information already presented on the Gen Aged Care website and through various publications that the Department of Health and Aged Care puts out.

Under the strategy we’re really inviting feedback around what sort of reporting frequency is of interest or most use to the sector or what types of access to information are of most use to different stakeholder groups. I noticed there was an earlier question around a comment I’d made during my presentation that the quality and usefulness of data is really important but obviously sharing that back with people who can use it, it’s not much use until you’ve done that. So we recognise that.

In terms of the frequency with which NMDS information will be made available that really depends on the process from which it’s been gathered. So it’s a biproduct of information. So if you’re already being asked to supply information quarterly according to a certain program requirement and that included information that is needed for the national minimum dataset then that information will come through quarterly.

Greg Pugh:

Excellent. Thanks Louise. Jason there’s one here for you and this goes to:

Q:         How much focus will be given to different mechanisms for reporting? Will we be able to use multiple methods such as APIs for a more automated approach to data submission?

Jason Fraser:

Great question. Yes. So some may be aware that the Government has invested in an initial pilot of a business to Government capability that we’re developing. Throughout MYEFO last year Government did give us some funding to develop a beta, a very limited beta by the end of this year. So Government is certainly investing in technology that should make it easier for providers to report information much more efficiently over time. We’re at the very early stages of that development. And again if there’s anyone who would like to be involved in the pilot keep an eye out for our Departmental tech talks which happen once a month. That information is provided on the aged care engagement hub and we’re certainly keen to get as many providers and vendors involved into that program.

Greg Pugh:

Thanks Jason. Mark I think one here for you around the survey.

Q:         Are there plans to provide a hard copy version for people who might not be online or have particular access requirements?

Mark Booth:

Absolutely. Look if people have problems with accessing online versions such as that please just get in touch and we will make sure that there are contact details made available. And of course yes we will get hard copy versions out to people who have problems that way and we’ll make sure that we incorporate them into what we’re doing. Yep.

Greg Pugh:

Excellent. Thank you.

There was one in here around whether the strategy will address the integration of quality data to facilitate live access to data, single source of truth and a solid basis for advanced analytics.

I think the short answer to that question is ideal future state, yes. That’s exactly what we would be striving to do. I think the work that we’re doing here through both the data and digital strategies will set the ball rolling towards that direction. It is likely that will take some time before we achieve that sort of desired future state outcome.

There’s one in here around the principles. So this one might be back to you Louise.

Q:         So the first principle of the strategy is putting older Australians at the centre of aged care so will the data system be rebuilt from the ground up to make people the centre of the data system?

Louise York:

I think in reality we can’t rebuild the entire data system but we can apply standards that bring the person into the main – that make it more person-centred. So I think it’s not practical to redesign an entire aged care data system in one hit but the plan is that there will be much better guidance on the common types of data that should be collected, much better use of other information that’s available to inform the system through integrating with other datasets through the aged care asset, and also that the strategy will require new governance arrangements that will also really need to embed this link that I can see in some of the questions between the importance of data and the enabling digital environment. So I think it’s more about getting the best out of the data system and setting it up so that as it evolves it’s much more efficient and effective at delivering the outcomes we want rather than starting again.

Greg Pugh:

Thanks. Mark probably one for you here. This is around whether the younger people cohort, so those aged 65 or under who end up in aged care, are we targeting them as a consultation group?

Mark Booth:

Yeah. That’s a good question. I think we are looking at anybody who has an interest here in terms of the data and the data that is being collected in those particular areas. So I don’t think we are necessarily targeting a particular area but certainly we are keen to talk to anybody who has got an interest, a view and an opinion to bear in terms of the collection of the data and the data that we’re looking at here. And as you say people under 65 coming up to potentially aged care and we know that there are a number of issues in terms of younger people in residential aged care and how that’s moving. But certainly if people do want to talk to us about that then yes certainly very happy to. Again I think the principle here is that we’d like to do a consultation that involves those people who have an interest in the area here and who it impacts on and it will impact on going forward. So if we could ensure that that would be ideal. Again if people could get in touch with us we can certainly reach out and see how best to make that happen.

Greg Pugh:

Excellent. Thanks. There are a couple coming through here that probably have a fairly similar response. So the ones that I’m looking at in particular are around whether or not we can confirm that we are considering incorporating existing data collected through platforms such as My Aged Care and DEX, similarly through programs such as the Serious Incident Response Scheme, how they fit into the broad scope of the NMDS and the strategy.

There are elements of the data collected through both of those mechanisms that are already considered as part of version 1.0 of the national minimum dataset. And I think it’s probably a safe suggestion to make that unless there’s an exceptional reason that we wouldn’t collect a particular piece of data that it wouldn’t be in scope. It’s just a matter of timing, so whether or not it’s in scope of version 1.0 or 2.0 or further on down the track. But Louise did you want to supplement that with anything further?

Louise York:

No. I think that’s a good answer.

Greg Pugh:

There’s probably one here for you Jason and this is around links between the data strategy and the digital strategy. With any sort of new payment platform designs that may be considered as part of the support at home reforms it does present a good opportunity to streamline data collection. And I think part of that question again is answered by my previous answer which is while we’re not looking to rebuild from scratch it is a very good opportunity to sort of incorporate those new data collections as they come online. But did you have anything that you wanted to supplement from a digital strategy perspective Jason?

Jason Fraser:

I think integration is really important across the aged care system, having an integrated digital system that collects information once and uses it many times. But also I guess what’s really important to us is that it should be really easy for older Australians to get information about the services that’s available to them but also the system should work in a way that the digital platforms underpinning it should almost be invisible because it’s seamless. It means that they only have to tell their story once so that they don’t have to repeat their information many times whether it’s in home care or when they’re moving to a residential facility. So that’s really occupying our mind to make sure that the system is integrated in a way that provides older Australians with a very kind of seamless journey through the aged care system.

Greg Pugh:

And probably a supplementary question then while you have the floor Jason is this one around APIs and whether there should be a priority to educate and support vendors to enhance their provision for integration. I’m not sure if there’s much more to expand on from your previous answer but please do if there is.

Jason Fraser:

Yeah. I mean certainly the enablement framework, what we’re seeking to do is to have a framework to kind of have that conversation with all partners in the aged care sector around how do we uplift digital capability over time, how do we meet the expectations and needs of older Australians. Now that will change over time. We do know that there’s a variable kind of digital capability of providers. We know that digital literacy in the workforce is certainly something that we need to pay some attention to. So all of these things will be in the mix and it will be part of that conversation around the enablement framework which is fundamentally how do we get together, how do we work together to lift that digital capability in the aged care sector over time.

Greg Pugh:

Excellent. Thank you. There’s one here from a little earlier on that I’m happy to answer. Historically there have been difficulties in coordinating and transferring data between Commonwealth, state and territory Governments. Often their datasets are not compatible. It’s been a longstanding issue and I think the Royal Commission went into quite a bit of detail about that. Indeed recommendation 67 talks about how all of the states and the territories and the Commonwealth should have their national minimum datasets in a way that is interoperable and can be exchanged. So there is work on that front being progressed through some intergovernmental groups including a senior officials working group but also on a reform implementation group as part of the health reform agreement. So I think it’s an issue that’s noted and known and work does progress on that front.

There are a couple in here as well that we’ve grouped up that look at security and privacy. So just to mention them briefly, some of the questions that are relevant.

Q:         Will an individual’s data be collected without first seeking their consent? What level of control do individuals have over the data, types of data collected and is there a dimension of security around who gets to know what information we are collecting or is it all disclosed?

And a comment.

Q:         I don’t see much here about security. Does ISO27001 underpin the strategy?

So I’ll probably attempt to answer in general. I would say that the data strategy, similarly the digital strategy, we wouldn’t want to be suggesting anything that’s incompatible with privacy legislation and principles and we would of course be looking to align that to appropriate security settings. We’re also cognisant of the fact that this Government has on its agenda considering an uplift to the Privacy Act and so of course we would have due regard to that. But Louise is that one that you wanted to provide any further response to?

Louise York:

Yeah. Thanks Greg. And it’s a really good question and we can sometimes get into murky water when we’re talking about the strategy and a national minimum dataset and a data asset and a digital strategy all at once. So we have to be careful to be talking about there are plenty of circumstances where you absolutely need to know who the individual is and that’s sort of underpinning good digital transfer of information to make sure that individual gets the care they receive. A lot of the information we’re talking about for a national minimum dataset and an asset, a data asset is deidentified information and that is then covered under a different range of ethical parameters where we have a lot of considerations including the security of the data. So that’s kind of a rambling response to say that it’s really important just to think about which element of the strategy we’re talking about but we definitely have security, privacy and ethics at the front of our mind.

Greg Pugh:

Thanks Louise. Just scrolling back up to some that we may have missed early on in the Q&A process. Sorry to those people who got in early but I’ve managed to gloss over.

So there is one in here around data sovereignty for First Nations people and will that be a core element underpinning the data strategy? And that might be one for you as well Louise.

Louise York:

And the short answer is yes. So we will absolutely be – I can’t envisage a strategy that doesn’t refer to the particular arrangements for the different population groups that it will cater for and that it serves and First Nations data sovereignty will be called out.

Greg Pugh:

Thanks. There’s one in here that talks about the My Aged Care Contact Centre. So the question is:

Q:         The first place that older adults contact and provide data to is the My Aged Care Contact Centre. Sometimes the people who answer the phone have very little training and clinical experience and often record very inaccurate information. So how do we ensure that data is only entered by people who really understand what this data means and try and avoid some of those inaccuracies that are associated with it?

I mean I think my answer to that question is that we want to hear these types of comments or observations. I mean this one’s probably fairly well articulated through the Royal Commission and the like. But we want to make sure that we’re capturing those as part of our consultations because we’ll need to make sure that anything the strategy suggests can somehow consider what sort of improvements to the capability uplift and training that we might need to consider as well.

But I might also ask Jason or Louise if you had anything further on that one to supplement?

Louise York:

I can add something. Because I think there’s another really good question in there about assessment and shouldn’t you be starting with the information you need to know at entry point about the support needs of people aiming to use the aged care service system. And that is exactly where we’re starting and it is one of the harder aspects to get right, and that’s partly because information about those support needs is captured in a whole range of different points across the person’s journey. And so that’s why we’ll focus really hard on trying to get those core elements about care and support needs and health conditions and so on right including supporting information about the context in which that information is collected.

Yeah. So a very, very important piece of work.

Greg Pugh:

And I might throw two more your way because I know that these are areas that are being actively considered. These are also from earlier in the Q&A session. So one around thoughts as yet regarding workforce related data that might be collected but also around allied health data and whether or not we’ll provide a breakdown per profession type.

Louise York:

Thanks. So certainly through all the consultation we’ve done so far we know that workforce data is one of the biggest gaps. And within that, yes information about allied health, access to allied health professionals including the type of allied health service received is a major gap. It’s a gap not just in aged care but across the whole care workforce including the health workforce. So it’s a bigger piece of work than is just limited to the Aged Care Data Strategy but we are looking really closely at it and looking at how you could make best use of information that’s already available and then how that information needs to be extended and enhanced in future to get a much better handle on who’s in the workforce, their characteristics, their retention plans and so on.

So yes we have been thinking about it.

Greg Pugh:

Just going back through. We’ve got about two minutes left of this week’s webinar. I’m trying to see if there’s any questions that I have missed. I’m not sure Mark or Jason or Louise are there any that have come to your attention that I haven’t thrown to someone?

Louise York:

I don’t think so. We’ll get better at managing the Q&A. No. You’ve done a good job Greg.

Greg Pugh:

But I agree. There’s probably a few things in here that have been missed. As I mentioned at the start of the Q&A process and also at the start of the webinar we will be providing answers to each of these questions so please stay tuned for those to be released. If everyone was as riveted as I was please make sure you join us again next week because we’ll be going through this again and we’ll be seeing what other questions might come up. So a different audience for people who might not have been able to make it or people who might want to come back and sort of just go through it again because there is quite a bit of information and detail to take in here across the various strategies.

So with that I might call this webinar to a close. I’d like to thank everyone for attending, everyone for your questions. Hopefully we answered the majority of them. And a big thank you to Louise, Jason and Mark for joining the webinar as panellists.

And just one more thing to consider. There’s an automatic link coming your way if you’re still on the call so please navigate to the agedcaredata.gov.au site and take the survey.

Thanks everyone.

[Closing visual of slide text saying ‘For more information, please visit:’, ‘www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/Data-improvements’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo), ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’]

[End of Transcript]

Video type:
Publication date:
Date last updated:

Session 1 of 2 of the National Aged Care Data Strategy consultation webinar was held on 5 October 2022. It covered our approach to developing the aged care data strategy and detailed other opportunities to get involved.  It was run by representatives from the Department of Health and Aged Care, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Nous Group, who are supporting the consultations.


Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.