Digital Transformation Tech Talk – 2 March 2023

In this first webinar for 2023, the speakers provided a forecast of the Aged Care reforms and digital transformation initiatives expected in the coming months, as well as a ‘playback’ on the Star Ratings release (which went live late last year).

General public
Webinar date:

Recording and transcript


Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Tech Talk’, ‘Digital Transformation for the Aged Care sector’, ‘Webinar series’, ‘Digital Transformation and Delivery Division’, ‘Corporate Group’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘’, ‘Tech Talk #7’, ‘02/03/2023’]

[The visuals during this webinar are of each speaker presenting in turn via video, with reference to the content of a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen]

Janine Bennett:

Good morning or good afternoon depending on where you are in Australia and across the world. Thank you for joining us for this the seventh Digital Transformation Webinar and the first in our series for 2023. Pretty exciting. My name is Janine Bennett. I’m the Engagement Lead for the Digital Transformation program and I’m also the moderator for today’s event. For those joining us for the first time welcome. Our Tech Talk Series is run by the Digital Transformation and Delivery Division at the Department of Health and Aged Care and we’re so pleased to be broadening our reach across the sector. We really look forward to having this ongoing conversation today and thank you for joining us.

For those attending our Tech Talks who are returning to our Tech Talks and coming back from 2022 welcome back. It’s great to see you. I can see a number of familiar names in the list. A big thanks to all of you who played a part in making our series a success last year and for the feedback that you gave us that helped us make these events even better as we went along.

Before we get started today we wanted to cover a couple of important housekeeping items. Firstly I’m joining you from Canberra, Australia, the lands of the Ngunnawal people. We’re really pleased to be opening our conversation today by acknowledging the Ngunnawal people and the many other traditional owners of the lands on which we meet across Australia and beyond. I’d like to pay my personal respects to those cultural First Nation leaders past, present and emerging and to acknowledge the presence of any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders joining us today. It's an honour to have you with us.

So for the housekeeping. Please note this webinar is being recorded. The recording will be made available on the Health website as soon as the captioning is complete. That’s usually a week or two after the event. If you have any technical difficulties during our event we recommend that you use a phone line to dial back in. The phone number and access code are included in your invite so you can use those to re-join.

As with all of our other Tech Talks we’ve set aside time at the end which is targeted to have a conversation with you. So as we go through today’s agenda please raise your questions. It’s really easy to do so. Simply use the Slido app which is typically available on the bottom right of your Webex screen. Type your question into Slido, click ‘Submit’ and your question will workflow its way through to being a public question. If you see a question you like on Slido that somebody else has asked definitely vote it up because the more votes the more likely your question will be answered. As I said I see lots of familiar names in attendance today but for those that are new to our Tech Talks we encourage anyone raising questions to join us on the virtual stage so that you can ask your question in person. The process is pretty simple. When you put your question into Slido just use your name rather than using anonymous. I’ll give you some warning before we bring you on to the stage so that you can prepare yourself, straighten your hair and your collar and we’ll do the technical setup. And then when you come on stage all you need to do is unmute and turn your video on if you feel comfortable doing so and ask your question. It’s as easy as that.

For anyone who’s feeling a bit shy or having a bad hair day don’t panic. You can still submit your questions under anonymous or you can add a note in your Slido saying no stage. If we see that I’m happy to ask the question on your behalf. Wherever possible though we do really love to have you join us on stage. It makes for a better conversation for everyone. And I promise the panellists are a friendly bunch. They’ll work with you to get to the bottom of your query. As always we’ll do our best to get through as many questions as we can. And I think with that housekeeping out of the way I have the pleasure now of introducing you to our host for the day Fay Flevaras. Fay is the First Assistant Secretary of Digital Transformation and Delivery Division. I’ll see you all again during Q&A but for now I’ll hand over to Fay.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Janine. And hello everyone. Welcome to our first webinar for 2023. So excited to be here. As Janine has said my name’s Fay Flevaras. I have the honour and responsibility of driving the digital transformation of the aged care reform. In practical terms that means helping drive the people, process and technology changes needed to support the reform goals and improve our ways of working. This is about real world change. It’s about a better connected aged care system that leverages the modern tech and shared data to create and enable outcomes for older Australians and for the people that care for them.

For everyone who has been on our journey to date with us you’ll know that 2022 was a massive year. And I dare say 2023 is going to be even bigger. So today we’re looking forward to sharing with you our roadmap for 2023 particularly our plans for the next three to six months. We’re pleased to have some of our policy colleagues joining us today, Josh Maldon and Emma Cook who will talk us through the process of the star ratings initiative that went live last year. We also have our cross Government colleagues from the Australian Digital Health Agency who are working with us, Laura Toyne and Herbert Down to give us an update on the aged care business to Government gateway conformance work that we’re doing together.

As always our panel presenters will be available for Q&A at the wrap up. So as Janine mentioned please put your questions in the Slido. Today we’ll be taking the star ratings questions directly after Josh and Emma’s presentation so they can move on to another commitment that they have. So definitely put them in as we go.

So before we get into all of that I thought I might just take a quick minute to set the scene for our Tech Talk Series and as a bit of a recap to our returning colleagues and to give some new context for our newcomers.

So very early in the digital transformation journey we established the Tech Talk Series, the webinar series that you’re here with us today. The intent was to provide a regular, routine, reliable mechanism to make sure we were talking and listening to you in the sector. We were clear from the outset that we wanted to engage early, we wanted to share our thinking as projects and initiatives evolved. We don’t expect to have all the answers and we knew that the practicalities of working with an evolving policy meant it was likely our plans would have to iterate and change along the way. But we trusted that you would understand that with large and complex undertakings such as this that sometimes things would need to shift and it was best to just get connected and start having the conversation and have you willing to pivot with us as we work things out together. So our Tech Talks became a cornerstone of the engagement agenda with you all as we embark on this massive transformation.

So how did we go last year in the Tech Talks? Well we launched the series in April and we held the events every six to eight weeks. We featured 38 speakers from across Health and Government and we’ve averaged about 557 registrations per event. Our largest event was in October last year when we hit a high of 780 registrations. But it’s worth noting that today’s Tech Talk registrations are 900. So I think we’d like to thank you all because this is just getting bigger and better and more connected. All of our Tech Talks are recorded because we don’t expect you to be available when we decide to run them. And so we publish these online and we’ve got over 1,100 YouTube views and that’s not counting or including any of the people who have watched directly off our Health website. So big thank you.

We also know a little bit about you guys. So here’s what we know about you our audience. Last year the aged care service provider community were our biggest attendees at 64% followed by Government and IT vendors from across the group at 15% and 8% respectively. But you are a national audience and so we get to see roughly where you’re dialling in from with New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland being the most largest areas for where people are joining from, but followed by ACT, Western Australia, South Australia, Tassie and Northern Territory. We’d also like to note that we do have some surprise overseas attendees as well.

We wanted to know if we were hitting or missing the mark so we ran some post-event surveys after each event last year and our average satisfaction rating across a range of measures was in the high 70s. And our overall satisfaction which measures the usefulness and utility of our events for you guys averaged about 78%. The comments we get are extremely helpful in getting our sessions right and making sure that we hit the mark. We were pleased to get a lot of positive comments about the open and transparent vibe of our Tech Talks. We also heard you that you wanted and needed more. You wanted more detail, more dates, more specifics about what is changing for who and for when. So we’ll definitely be working on that. You also said you wanted more understanding from us in Government that the sector is stretched by an ever-increasing demand and the large reform agenda and about the need for us in Government to work across agencies to help the sector implement change.

So that’s a quick summary of our Tech Talks from last year. I hope you found that useful. We have some good guidance about areas that we can continue to improve on in 2023. And as always we welcome feedback and suggestions. So that we can respond to the surveys drop us a line. We want to make sure that these events are a good investment of your time and ours.

So now how about we turn to the main game which is our digital transformation agenda for the coming year. We’re going to look at what we’ve done since we last met with you back in I think it was early December and what’s next coming down the pipeline in the next three months, and then a little bit more about what we’ve scoped before the mid-year.

So for our regulars you would have remembered seeing this high level sort of release timeline of our delivery schedule and some of the projects out to July this year. This is a bit of a high level view of all of the immediate priorities that we’re working on in the digital sense, things that we’re looking at implementing and some of the linkages of which projects or which initiatives are going together. This allows us to track progress along the way. So we’re being mindful of the fact that individual policy initiatives tend to get grouped together in waves of change. We’ve done what we can to create a timeline that’s easy to consume by many but I appreciate that the scope of what we’re doing is pretty big with a lot of moving parts and so as much as we’re trying to make it as simple as we can it’s an extremely intricate web of dependencies that we’re trying to convey here.

While shifts are possible from an ICT perspective what we have here is the plan that we’re working towards and we’ll keep you updated as things go on. Now I do want to call out the disclaimer. So just to iterate from our formal caveats at the end of the day our scope and the sequencing and the timeframes will be determined by Government. Formal announcements will come from them. We try to be pragmatic and engage you as early as we can with the details of what we’re working on, understanding that some of the foundational work progresses while final policy decisions are in train. So this is what we think the sequence and timeframes will look like. This is the view we are working to. Importantly though anything we discuss here should not be taken as a formal commitment from Government. And I think this is a little bit about the authenticity and beauty of these Tech Talks. We are trying to stay connected and have real conversations with you but this does not replace the formal announcements that come from Government.

Okay. So now that we’ve set some of that context I’m keen to show you the recent delivery. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into the view that we have here and where we’ve been and where we’re heading.

So the work that we accomplished from December last year to today. No rest for the wicked. We’ve been doing a lot even through the Christmas and New Year period. We’ve had several provider management system deliverables go live. The Government provider management system is the name of our new product which is being built on our salesforce platform along with a lot of other software, MilSOFT, DocuSign. So anyone interested put a question in the link. We can show you the architecture separately. But it’s a big foundational piece of work that will help to support the delivery of many of the initiatives that we’re running, quality indicators and star ratings, financial reporting and so forth.

We also released the first deployment of star ratings before Christmas. You can see that has a little bit of a tick. As I said Josh and Emma are on our agenda. They’ll be following up from me just straight after this. So I’ll let them give you an overview of that. And hot off the presses last weekend we did a major release for our My Aged Care ecosystem and we’ve almost closed out a lot of the work around expanding representative service models which allow – it’s a key enabler for organisations to act and represent on behalf of ageing Australians. We’ve rolled out the hospital portal, expanding our dataset with a further 273 hospitals due to be rolled out over the coming months, which allow hospital-based staff to check client approvals and assessment information. So really connecting everyone together.

We’ve released a lot of other portal examples on My Aged Care around integrated assessment tools which is a pilot happening for support at home, lots of enhancements around the living lab trial. So you can see some of the names there. I won’t go through them all in detail but needless to say it was a massive release and notwithstanding the usual little hiccups in large scale releases like this, everything went really well over the weekend and we’re currently in our warranty phase just looking at things in hypercare making sure that it all goes smoothly.

So what have we planned for the next quarter? And all I can say is it’s a lot. If I could just move to the next slide please Riley. Thank you. Apart from doing our warranty and making sure we keep an eye on making sure everything is going well high on the priority list are further enhancements to some of those large initiatives as I was talking about around quality indicators, adding more functionality in our provider portal and giving you guys access to it. A lot more functionality is underway around risk-based information sharing and data sharing. So really looking forward to making sure that we keep you abreast of this. For those in the sector partner community a lot of these projects are actually on our sector partner design activities. So if I move us to the next slide, as we progress through this delivery plan we’re continuing to work closely with the sector partner group. This group was also established last year and it’s made up of volunteers from right across the sector, service providers, software vendors, peak bodies and consultants. You guys meet up with us every fortnight. We share with you which of the design activities that we have available that we would like input for and we have found their insights, their experience and opinions invaluable to making sure we get the solution right that we’re bringing to the sector.

We follow a very human-centred approach and our partners have been amazingly committed. It’s not a small amount of work so their commitment is truly appreciated. Last year we ran ten different codesign initiatives between May and December and with our first sector partner meeting for this year we just had that last year. A lot of those projects that were on that pipeline, that community is actively participating in codesigning a lot of the work with us. We welcomed back our existing members in the sector partner community and we inducted a new intake of 30 volunteers just last week which brings us to 97 members in total. That is 97 private industry sector companies, communities that are joining with us. And at the moment the group is working on a couple of these digital initiatives, worker screening, the Quarterly Financial Reporting. There’s another couple of initiatives around automating some of this through software, around the aged care transfer summary and the provider management system. As well as there’s some early design work around the support at home and provider operations projects. So really big thank you and recognition to all of those in the sector partner community.

So without further ado one of the things we spoke about quite a bit last year with our sector partners and the Tech Talks was the star rating reform. And we wanted to provide an update on that work that was delivered at the end of last year after our Tech Talk and also give you some insights into what’s been happening since then. I’d like to invite Josh Maldon and Emma Cook to our stage and our business leads from the Quality and Assurance Division. And before handing over I wanted to quickly mention that Josh and Emma are unfortunately double booked so we will be doing question time straight after this. So please make sure you put your questions in. And Josh and Em over to you. Thanks for joining us.

Joshua Maldon:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Star Ratings & Quality Indicators’, ‘Deeper dive: Update and Q&A’, ‘Josh Maldon & Emma Cook’, ‘Assistant Secretary & Director’, ‘Quality and Assurance Division’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Group’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Aged Care Star Ratings’]

Lovely. Thanks for having us again. So thanks for the introduction Fay. So I’m Josh Maldon, the Assistant Secretary of the Choice and Transparency Branch and I’m joined here by the industrious Emma Cook who’s the Director of both Quality Indicators and Star Ratings. So we’re the business owners. I like to think we’ve got shared custody but Emma’s constantly reminding me that that’s not the case. I’m here for the journey.

In terms of the purpose of this conversation what we wanted to talk to you about is just where we’re up to in respect to both those programs and what next steps look like. So I wanted to say a big thank you for having us in this forum. So increasingly our policy is absolutely reliant on technology and data enabled solutions so these conversations are really critical in terms of quality policy more broadly. Increasingly we’re looking to find what quality is and what’s required under the legislation in terms of structure, process and outcome indicators and we’re capturing that through reporting.

So we’re aware of the burden that’s placing on providers. And so software vendors offering clinical information systems which hopefully will connect with Government through B2G in the future is just going to become increasingly important in this space. Also the fact that we’ve got a workforce crisis in aged care. It’s an intractable problem for the sector and Government and so we all need to be leaning more on technology to enhance both the efficiency and effectiveness of care delivery.

So I’ll briefly talk about star ratings and then hand over to Emma for QI. And Luke Benson I saw your question on the Chat and yes we will be publishing the national dataset for star ratings. We’re going to look at doing it quarterly. We’ll most likely do it on the website in provider resources but we’ll land that piece in the next quarter. So good question.

So in terms of the launch, look after 18 months of complex procurement, research, consultation, prototype development, IT design, build and test including really extensive user experience we did launch star ratings on the 19th of December. And Emma and I love talking about it. It’s like sitting on a psychologist’s couch really. Both the sector and older Australians were supported by a range of resources. So we had webinars, fact sheets, FAQs, mini videos. In terms of feedback what have we heard so far? Largely positive particularly from older Australians and their families. They are telling us that it’s an intuitive design. It does provide helpful information which they see as relevant to informing choice. From a sector perspective definitely broad support conceptually. We’ve definitely had some issues from those with lower scores around perceived fairness or relevance and those sorts of things and we look to continue to have those conversations and hear that feedback.

So star ratings, they’re dynamic and they’re updated daily if there’s a change to a service compliance status, annually as part of the resident experience survey program where we interview at least 10% of residents in every residential service, and then quarterly for self‑reporting staffing minutes and quality indicator information. So currently providers collect five QIs which Emma will talk about briefly.

The next quarter we hope to have available in April and we’ll go through a provider preview period again later this month which is a little bit of a learning for us. So during the original launch we conducted a ten day provider preview approximately and it taught us a lot. Despite sending eight reminders to the sector and getting people to make sure they had their My Aged Care org admin details up to date they were not up to date. It was clear to us that people certainly in aged care services lacked awareness of who in their organisation is transacting with us through the system. We also learnt that when we send services emails many can be blocked by firewalls and also isolated into junk inboxes. And so when you start to overlay these issues on top of the fact that we had to send 43,000 provider preview emails out obviously both the team and My Aged Care had a significant number of enquiries to work through during the launch period.

So in total I think we had over 1,300 enquiries and it was across a range of issues but largely it was assisting providers locate their preview. So it did slow down our responsiveness for people who were actually seeking to understand other things like their rating, why they got it, the criteria, checking the voracity of their data, including their own and those sorts of things.

So in terms of next steps we’re pretty excited about the launch of the GPMS capability. And sure it probably doesn’t look like much right now and despite business areas like us specifying holographic features similar to what Tony Stark uses in Ironman we’re launching something less than that in the first instance. But what it does give us is a really good versatile platform to begin with where we can work with users over time to build new capabilities and continuously improve that capability. So it’s important to start somewhere and so we’ve given you guys a bit of a demo on what that looks like previously and so you can see what we’re planning. But again I just want to stress that it’s a first step and that we’re looking to build it.

Emma did you want to add anything at that point?

Emma Cook:

I just noticed you’ll probably get a little bit of a visual on the next slide I think as well, just high level.

Joshua Maldon:

There we go. There we go. So you can see the holograms aren’t there. But again look it is a starting point that we’re beginning with there. So I think starting with a cursory look at the provider preview we see the benefit in it because it’s going to save both aged care providers and the Department a lot of time and energy than we had to previously expend in December. So it again gives us the opportunity to develop a product based on user needs and we can continue to iterate it.

I think beyond this one thing I wanted to talk about with this group is that star ratings 1.0, it’s a starting point and I think it’s the beginning of something great. So it’s something we’re going to look to continuously improve through an annual cycle of evaluation and enhancements. And that will be informed through a collaborative engagement piece, so with technical experts, older Australians, aged care providers. The sorts of things that we’ll consider is the data, what’s it telling us about performance, how can we include new information over time, of course subject to Government decisions to do so, is it useful for older Australians, how is it driving provider behaviour and how can we continue to evolve it to continue to reflect the lived performance in the sector.

So that probably brings me to the end of star ratings and we’ll switch over to you Emma to lead the way on quality indicators and then we might go for any questions that we might have. And I’ll check the Chat to see if there’s any more.

Emma Cook:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘New Quality Indicators’, ‘Deeper dive: Update and Q&A’, ‘Josh Maldon & Emma Cook’, ‘Assistant Secretary & Director’, ‘Quality and Assurance Division’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Group’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Aged Care Star Ratings’]

Sounds good. Thanks so much Josh. So probably relevant to lead off that last point around new information and potential inclusion of new information and straight into new quality indicators that will be introduced from the 1st of April 2023. So pretty soon now. And many of you will be aware of the quality indicators. You’ll see the five that we already have at the top half of the graphics in front of you and the new quality indicators are the lower six.

So these cover activities of daily living, incontinence care, hospitalisation, workforce turnover, consumer experience and quality of life. All really pertinent areas of care and quality of life for older Australians all heavily favoured by older Australians in particular but well supported by the sector and Royal Commission.

So you can see the specific measures that are highlighted there on the screen. The collection as I’ve said will start on the 1st of April over the normal three months of the financial year quarter and will be reported for the first time to the Department from 1 to 21 July 2023.

On the next slide you’ll see again just a very brief kind of example of what we’re working towards. So as Fay’s touched on the work never stops and with new QIs, with new aged care reforms, inevitably we look at new IT to support these new reforms, and in this case quality indicator data submission. We’ve heard sector feedback and we’re looking at how we can streamline and improve submission processes across new and existing quality indicators with enhancements such as bulk data uploads. So that would allow the submission using the normal data templates that the QI program provides but the submission of many services just through one process or one click.

Now in addition to those kind of improvements to submission and to that process for providers and organisations submitting on their behalf we’re also looking at reporting dashboards and improved reporting dashboards that present that individualised data for each and every service and allow them comparative statistics and information as well as trend and performance over time that allows them to better understand their performances, better understand the results of interventions and quality improvement and to engage in that quality improvement process.

So keeping it just super brief and again jumping through to the next slide we really did just want to give that update. And many of you will be aware and we’ve got a lot of communications, a lot of resources that are now available on the Department’s website. We’ve got webinars up and coming for quality indicators towards the end of March. So we just want to keep the conversation going, keep informing you of the progress in the delivery of these reforms and the digital reform agenda in our space but if you would like more information certainly visit the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website for the details on quality indicators, star ratings. There’s a huge suite of resources for both and of course we’ve got those handy QR links or codes up on the screen there for you to use as well.

That’s it from me and I think it sounds like it’s question time.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks. I’ll just get back up on stage myself. Thank you Josh and Emma. Really appreciate you guys joining us today and giving us another view of where we’re up to and where we’re going. I’m just going to let Lisa know. I think it’s Lisa Dolphin. So heads up we’ll bring you to stage so you can ask your question soon. But in the meantime I’m asking one on behalf of Peter. And Peter’s question is:

Q:        Will the additional six quality indicators commencing the 1st of April 2023 be included in the quality indicators results that are part of the overall star ratings?

Emma Cook:

No. No. So I guess there’s two different – they intersect, present in star ratings through the quality measures rating, but those are the current five that have been in place for some time. The new six quality indicators, first and foremost we start collecting, we want providers to be able to engage in those results, engage in quality improvement, and there’s no current commitment to present those through star ratings.

Fay Flevaras:

Great question Peter. Now Lisa have we got you there? I’m not sure if we’ve got voice or video. Are you with us?

Lisa Dolphin:

Hi. I’m here. Can you hear me?

Fay Flevaras:

Yes we can.

Online Audience Member:

Thank you. Yeah. I just wanted to know when the star ratings will be released for in-home care?

Joshua Maldon:

That’s a great question. Absolutely. So I think what I would say from that perspective is there’s been no Government decision to do that as yet but Government’s also been pretty clear that what we’re looking to do is build and end to end aged care system insofar as a future state. And so from my perspective, from a policy perspective, it wouldn’t be if we would do it, it would be when we would do it. But I think there’s a few dependencies that we’ve got to realise before we would do that and I think largely we do have to land the redesign of home care, so potentially what bringing home care and CHSP together looks like and then looking to establish data sources in that context that we could pull from and use in a star ratings system. So I think that’s something we’re working towards but it’s in a future state.

Online Audience Member:

Okay. Thank you very much.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Lisa for joining us up on stage. I might just give Rosalie Rogers a bit of a heads up to say we’ll bring you up next, up on stage.

And in the meantime I think we’ve got a question here from Luke Benson.

Q:        Are there plans to publish the detailed star ratings data visible on the My Aged Care portal as a managed version dataset?

Did I get that fully complete?

Joshua Maldon:

Yeah. So absolutely we will look at publishing a national dataset quarterly. We’ll put big caveats on it because it’s obviously dynamic and can move around a fair bit. But definitely we will put it up there. So yes.

Emma Cook:

I think there’s probably a few enhancements in that space. There’s the quarterly, that sort of process that Josh has mentioned. We’re looking at providing – we know that people are finding statistics around how many people get one, two, three, four, five stars for each sub-category and overall really helpful so we’re looking at the presentation of that potentially on My Aged Care which will give some of those useful summary statistics, and then the more annual process or analysis as well.

Fay Flevaras:

Okay. And I think we’re still trying to get Rosalie up. But we might also invite Natalie Drake. There’s Rosalie. Hi. Welcome.

Online Audience Member:

Hi. Thank you Fay. My question was around has the Commonwealth been engaging with the various tech providers? Our current provider that we use has indicated that they’ve had no interaction with the Commonwealth and my fear is that it’s great all of the work that you’re doing at your end but if it’s not aligning with the providers that we’re using at the grass roots it’s going to fall over. So we’re quite concerned about that. And sort of further to that I feel we’re also potentially being held to ransom by tech providers because every time I turn around the dollar value of what they want to do is becoming just unaffordable. And I noticed Leigh Martin has also said something similar to that there. It is eye watering what they’re asking and we cannot afford that.

Fay Flevaras:

That’s great feedback Rosalie. Re the tech providers you would have noticed in my opening session we talked about sector partners and there’s a huge effort on our part to engage them and give them line of sight so they can build a lot of this into their software as part of the roadmap. It is potentially going forward a product of doing business and so if they’re going to provide you software you’re going to want to know that you’re engaging with IT software providers who have a commitment to make sure they’re going to keep up with the regular reforms and that shouldn’t cost you extra. It should be part of their product. That’s a big statement on my part. It’s just part of I think if they’re going to offer you software, it’s a bit like in banking, when the regulations change the software providers need to change with them.

We will continue to have those conversations with them. I do note there’s a different question somewhere in the list. I can’t remember where. It might be Leigh’s where it talks about the financial part of it. And the aged care sector actually has quite a large number of different software pieces available for quite a lot of different parts of the ecosystem as well. So trying to get an end to end answer on this as we’re doing the transformation I think is really important. So I don’t think you’re going to get an answer from me here today but I do recognise the problem statement you’re putting forward and we’re definitely trying to engage the sector early. We are trying to do a lot of the designs with the sector partner community early and we are trying to get it out there. I will start to try and encourage an open source community so that some of this is made available and it’s not all just priced in in that sense from a financial – again no commitment but this is one of the reasons why we’re doing these tech talks. It’s one of the reasons why we have our sector partners. We alone as Government will not be the success of the reform. It really requires the community to come together and see how we can make this like you said, adopt the changes and get it working end to end through a connected health and aged care community.

Online Audience Member:

Great. Look thank you for that because this is my biggest risk.

Fay Flevaras:

Okay. Thank you for letting us know. And that’s also part of it. We’ll just take all this back into the feedback to our policy makers, to our Government, and let’s see what we can do together.

Okay. So who do I have up next? I’m conscious of time. We have an anonymous.

Q:        When will Part B of the manual available because the final guideline released last week refer to Part B is still not available.

Emma Cook:

So I guess to start with, the reassurance is that Part B is complementary. So everything that you need to do to collect and report on quality indicators is held in Part A. That’s the part that’s attached to the legislation and that’s currently available. We have Part B just for the existing. So it gives you an idea of what to expect for the existing five QIs. And it’s really about quality improvement. It’s about I got my QI results and now what can I do to engage in continuous quality improvement. And we’re very close to finalising that and I expect it to be up within a couple of weeks at most.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Em. Now Natalie are you there with us?

Online Audience Member:

I am. My question was what work is being done to provide the quality indicator data through places like GEN data and the My Aged Care portal in a more timely manner? At the moment it’s taking months before we’re able to pull any real data.

Emma Cook:

So I think first port of call if you want timely reports and timely quality indicators for services then the My Aged Care provider portal is the place to go. It’s certainly within two weeks of submission that information is available in individualised reports and will give you things like the national average statistics and make those available as well as upper and lower thresholds. But we understand that you’d like to see more timely data on AIHW’s GEN website and through our published pathways and we’re certainly working to achieve that. It’s just a matter of as the data’s becoming bigger and as we want to make sure that it’s absolutely perfect when it goes out there is a fair bit of due diligence taken and process in publishing that but we are looking to speed up the process.

Fay Flevaras:

Does that answer your question Natalie?

Online Audience Member:

Yeah it did. Thank you.

Fay Flevaras:

Thank you for coming up on stage and asking. We do also have a question from S.

Q:        Will QI be applied to home care?

Josh Maldon:

Yeah. Absolutely. So look we have done a sizeable piece of work at the same time that we were developing the new residential quality indicators to look at what could be useful from a home care perspective. And certainly there was the identification of a number of QIs through that process. We decided not to proceed with a pilot at that particular point in time because home care and CHSP is going through a significant redesign process. So it’s important that anything we pick out of the QI space to pilot is done in the context of a new program. So as I said before in relation to the broader explanation around the star ratings systems, yes absolutely, but there’s a pathway that we’ll follow to achieve that.

Emma Cook:

Yeah. I think Government certainly understood the volume of change at the moment and the benefit. We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from the sector as Josh has touched on around the benefit in us waiting and sequencing that in the way that Josh has described rather than asking something and then redoing it in a new construct. There’s a lot of change in that.

Fay Flevaras:

Great. And I think Linton has said:

Q:        Thanks for the information re in-home care rating timing.

I think that’s been a useful little bit of a fact today that our sector has appreciated. I wouldn’t mind getting Brad McCullough up on stage next if he wants to get himself ready. But Anita has asked:

Q:        Can we access the DTI portfolio document?

Do you want to tell people what DTI is including me? Do we know? If not I might ask Anita to add another comment to her question.

No? We don’t know that one? Okay. Moving on. Brad you’re there?

Online Audience Member:

Yes. Thank you. Can you hear me?

Fay Flevaras:

Yeah. We can hear you. We can’t see you but we’ll leave it up to you to decide on video.

Online Audience Member:

That’s fine. Apologies. Some of the quality indicators that you outlined independently correlated with acuity, so some of the adverse events, falls for instance. And we know there are providers in the market who specialise in higher or lower acuity clients. Is there an intention to ensure that the reporting of these reflects that?

Emma Cook:

Yeah. Absolutely. So the current quality indicators that are presented through the star ratings do reflect that through a risk adjustment approach. It was based on kind of international practice around aged care quality indicator risk adjustment and then adopted a data driven approach to as you say identify those variables or covariates, which all apply to mobility and cognition but in particular falls as you’ve highlighted with the Braden scores impacting pressure injuries and frailty impacting unplanned weight loss. So we certainly are conscious of the need for risk adjustment, conscious of the need to ensure that any presentation or public presentation of quality indicators where appropriate takes the approach of risk adjustment to ensure their comparison between services with differing resident populations or acuities and are committed to that approach.

And that’s part of the reason with the new quality indicators we follow that same trajectory of providers start collecting, they start reporting, they start to see their performance, they can compare it with themselves and similar sorts of services or other services within the organisation. We can also start to look at that data over time along with the person level AN-ACC assessment data and start to better understand those covariates or correlations and ensure that should we get to any future point of publication that it’s there and appropriate to do so. In saying that there’s no commitment but that’s the importance of having that pathway that allows everyone to engage with the data, use it for improvement and then assess all the statistical attributes that are required to allow its publication. Thanks Brad.

Audience Member:

Thank you. That seems very comprehensive and robust so thank you.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Brad. We really appreciate the question. And actually we’ve had some really good questions come from the community today. Thank you. We might just do one last one which is from Dianna Carroll.

Q:        The star ratings systems do not apply to the CHSP. Correct?

Joshua Maldon:

Yep. Correct. Same home care story. Yep. Absolutely.

Fay Flevaras:

Excellent. So I think we might just pause there and thank you very much to Josh and Emma and the fabulous questions we’ve received. We’re looking forward to the next instalment as we continue to evolve this. The star ratings and quality indicators are really important initiatives and reforms. It does allow us to measure what we expect good quality service looks like. It does give the transparency to consumers, ageing Australians and their family to understand what they’re getting and where. So well done Josh and Emma. It’s really important work and you should be very proud.

Joshua Maldon:

Thanks Fay and thanks everyone for the opportunity and time to connect with you all. We’ll see you next time.

Emma Cook:

Thanks very much.

Fay Flevaras:

So moving on to our next topic and this is actually a really important piece of work that we’re all working towards. As we want to start automating some of this so that we’re not manually receiving the regular reporting and all these data attributes we really need to start moving towards an automated, connected ecosystem. So we’ve still got someone off mute. Yep. Thanks guys. So to that effect up next we have Herbert Down and Laura Toyne from the Australian Digital Health Agency. They’re working with us to enhance our conformance service for the aged care Business to Government connect. We call it the Business to Government Gateway. Welcome back Herbert. You’ve been with us before. And Laura.

Herbert Down:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Aged Care B2G Gateway Conformance Service’, ‘Deeper dive: Cross-Government update’, ‘Herbert Down & Laura Toyne’, ‘Branch Managers’, ‘Australian Digital Health Agency’]

Thanks Fay. Lovely to be with you again.

Fay Flevaras:

Over to you guys.

Laura Toyne:

Thank you. Hi everyone. We are very pleased to be back today. We’ll just go to the next slide if we can. I’m just going to recap before I hand to Herbert to take you through the conformance work that we are doing on the Gateway. And just a reminder because we’re back sort of at the start of the year some of the activities that are happening on the Health side of the aged care reforms as we like to think about it, and I’ll touch on these after Herbert finishes again. One of the things we are focusing on at the moment is the My Health Record registration process for our aged care facilities. We’re working with vendors to support the My Health Record integration and conformance and the upload of advanced care planning into the My Health Record through those various products. We are developing our aged care transfer summary which will be available through My Health Record towards the end of this calendar year. We’re working with the Department in that conformance space not only on the B2G but also on the conformance arrangements around the rollout of the electronic national residential medication chart. That’s quite the mouthful. And last but not least that we’ll touch on later on is the development of clinical information system standards for aged care. So that will go to a question I think that Leigh brought up earlier on in Slido. But notwithstanding that I’m going to hand over to Herbert now to talk to you a little bit about what conformance is. So over to you Herbert.

Herbert Down:

That’s terrific Laura. It’s great to be back to have a chat with everybody on the call today. The first thing I’d like to say is that when I started at the Agency a couple of years ago I thought that conformance was a very complicated and mystical topic area. But when you start looking at it in detail it actually comes down to some very simple and straightforward processes and principles.

The first thing is that it’s almost like a form of accreditation or assessment against standards. I think we’re all pretty familiar at this stage of our careers with those processes because it happens in most parts of our professional life.

The difference with conformance is that it’s applied specifically to software and it looks at risks that the software may pose and those risks are generally identified by a group of subject matter experts. At the Agency those experts you can see listed on the side of the slide in the blue boxes. Once those risks have been identified and articulated well a group is brought together of those SMEs and also industry vendors to come up with the mitigations that will then become a set of requirements against which a piece of software will be assessed for conformance.

At all times we work with the community and with industry to ensure that the conformance profile that is developed is achievable and that it stretches as much as possible but in a realistic way. Once that profile has been approved through Government’s process we then begin a period of socialisation so that the industry can get used to the content and ask some questions and then a dataset for assessment to begin.

Generally once assessment begins there’s a 12 to 18 month period from which all vendors for a given scheme must become conformant. But we do work with industry and with regulators to ensure that the period identified is appropriate and can be met.

The Agency then maintains the profile and updates it periodically in line with emerging new risks, best practice or generally updates to cybersecurity requirements.

Our team has a really customer-focused outlook. We provide shoulder to shoulder support from the moment that a vendor approaches the Agency to begin their assessment scheme right through to the end. And we tend to have a no fail policy. So you will receive support throughout the process and be given advice on how best to meet the requirements if initially during the assessment you do not.

The administrative burden is reducing and the Agency is taking steps to ensure that almost all administrative steps are hidden behind our sort of front door and rely mostly on our responsibility. Next slide please.

So in a typical connection and conformance process a vendor will approach the website and register for the assessment they wish to undergo. They’ll receive an initial set of documentation and then once the registration is complete a detailed technical pack is sent out and assistance provided.

The sector partner then commences their own work under development and gets access to a test environment which they can use to demonstrate that integration and adherence to the technical specification has been achieved.

The self-guided conformance testing then begins. In general most schemes are a self-attestation process with the amount of observed testing kept to a minimum to manage the highest priority risks.

Once the pack of evidence has been submitted and the conformance declaration signed the pack is assessed and generally a conformance number is issued and the vendor product added to the conformance register which is available on our website.

There will be some changes to this typical process when we get to the business end of this process in our partnership with the Department as this is a slight change to the usual profiles which we own in-house but it’s a really great exercise to demonstrate how useful conformance can be in building community confidence in software products.

Once they are conformant the Department will be providing production access to vendors and use of the API gateways and transmission of data can begin.

Now next slide please.

To date all of our schemes have been in some ways detailed as standalone. They address specific areas such as the HI service, the health identifier service and the recently released security requirements profile. But in developing the work with the Department we’ve given an awful lot of thought to the fact that there will be vendors of great variation involved in this group and we need to adjust this approach so that we can make it as straightforward and simple for vendors as is possible but at the same time managing as many risks as we can. To that end we’ve developed the following modular approach to conformance where we’ve broken down each of those specific areas and we’ve identified where we think vendors transmitting various types of information may decide to have their assessment completed.

It also means that those vendors who have completed some modules should find it easier to begin progressing onwards and that there will be a baseline for all vendors that we’ll need to be across so we’re still working through the detail of where exactly that threshold will be.

We’d also like to ensure that any vendor who has worked with other parts of the Australian Government has that work recognised. So if you’ve had a conformance process with Services Australia and you’d like to ensure that you don’t have to duplicate that work with us …

… conformance processes are equally recognised. I’m going to hand back to Laura in just a moment but I’ve noticed that there is a question around legislation. At the moment there is just one conformance profile that is legislated and that is the electronic prescribing profile and for various different reasons that’s got a very national place in legislation. The other profiles do not have that legislative basis as yet. That may change. But from a standards perspective legislation is probably the last line of defence we’d like to put in place because it is a little bit discordant and inflexible but it remains an option available of course to any Department that wishes to put it in place.

And I think that Laura is back to you.

Laura Toyne:

Yeah. Thanks Herbert. And thanks for answering that question as you’ve gone through. So just to sort of end, kind of looping back to where we started, there’s a couple of key engagements that the Agency will lead. We’ve just got a few highlights on that slide. It doesn’t document absolutely everything. But some of the things that we are doing over the course of this year – and some of you on the line would certainly have been involved in these already – we’re looking to do supported registration in Victoria in the residential aged care sector for My Health Record. That work is underway now. And we’ll do a sort of state by state rollout approach to that over the course of this year.

In relation to the aged care transfer summary which I mentioned earlier and which we did touch on last year in a few Tech Talks we’ve got some vendor workshops and jurisdiction workshops that are underway at the moment and we’ve had quite a large engagement in some of that user design element of that aged care transfer summary and we’ll continue those engagements over the course of the year. We are working with vendors at the moment, 14 vendors to make sure their products can become conformant and integrate with My Health Record so they’ll be available to the aged care sector. We have two such products that already have that capability now that are available to the aged care sector. And we will look at some of those engagements around the standards and the development of the clinical information system standards over the course of this year as well with a sort of end date of those standards being available in mid-2024.

With that I’m going to stop my presentation and we’ll hand back to Janine and Fay I think. So thank you very much.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Laura and thanks Herbert. And I just want to re-emphasise the good work that’s being done there with the Australian Digital Health Agency. I’ll just wait until I get back on. Yep. There I am back on stage. Couple of things. We are definitely trying to put an emphasis on a one Government. So all the good work that’s being done in My Health Record and the standards and conformance pieces there are absolutely what Laura and Herbert have said. However in parallel we’re also defining standards for a lot of the reporting that we would like to collect more broadly around aged care and we will definitely continue to work together with ADHA to create a common standard that lines up with the national minimum data standards. And there’s a whole lot of other people across Government that are all working in the data space so we’re just definitely trying to pull those threads to create a view of the data and a model that can be communicated out to the sector and the community.

So some of what we’re talking about there is not legislated but it’s great to actually get a connected agreed data model out there for everyone to work on together. And also the conformance process is the bit that we’re really working closely with ADHA in that we would like to follow the same process so we’re not asking you to do things differently for different departments. So that piece that Herbert said about recognising any conformance activities that you’ve done across other agencies, again an attempt to create a one Government experience for you guys. So hopefully you guys enjoyed that.

We do have a bit of a Pulse survey that we would like to just let you know about. As you know we’re committed to working across Government and to provide really well connected services for you guys and the conformance work we’re doing here is a great example of how we can leverage each other’s expertise across Government and making it a much more seamless experience for you all. Before moving on to our Q&A I wanted to take a moment to advertise our survey being released around the Aged Care Comms and Change Branch which is part of our business colleagues. They may have already told you about this through other channels but once again just trying to make sure that we link these things up for you.

So the Department wants to hear from you, from the sector to better inform how we support you as well as about implementing aged care reforms. So please take the survey. This is the end of the formal presentation. I think a lot of the questions we’ve got coming up we’ll definitely be passing back to the aged care reforms survey as well. Some of them are beyond the scope of what we can answer here today but we’ll give it a go. But they’re all very valuable insights. So any questions we don’t answer today in Q&A we will definitely take back into the Department and get an answer and then they will have an answer published up on our website along with the recording of this Tech Talk.

So moving on to Q&A.

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Q&A’, ‘1 Type your question into Slido’, ‘2 Click ‘Submit’ so your input can workflow its way through to being a public question’, ‘3 If you see a question you like on Slido, ‘vote it up’, ‘Happy to ask your question directly to the panel?’, ‘Simply use your name when submitting your question in Slido & we’ll invite you to join us on our ‘virtual’ stage’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’]

Okay everyone, all our panellists back up who are still with us. And we’ve got myself and we’ve got Laura, we’ve got Herbert who we’ve already met. I’d like to welcome Brian and Marina. Would you like to – Brian would you like to introduce yourself first?


Sure. Thanks Fay. So I’m one of the Branch heads under Fay here in the Transformation Program. So primarily I look after the architecture space and our program office.

Fay Flevaras:

Thank you. And Marina?


Hello. Marina [1:03:18] here. I look after the Services and Sustainability Branch within Fay’s division.

Fay Flevaras:

Thank you. And Janine you’re going to make this a conversation. Did you want to take over moderation going forward?

Janine Bennett:

Sounds great. Will do. So thanks Fay. Welcome Brian and Marina. Thanks for staying with us Laura and Herbert. Great to have you back as a couple of our Tech Talk regulars. It was also really good to see the number of questions we had for star ratings and quality indicators. Gee that’s a popular subject. As Fay mentioned we are happy to take questions on notice and where we need to direct those back to the business we can do so and we’ll come back to you at a future point with the answers.

We will go ahead and invite a couple of people to get ready to come to stage. So Alana we’d love it if you could join us on stage and also Josely Stocker. If we could have Alana and Josely set up to join us. In the meantime I’ll ask an anonymous question and I think this one might be for Marina but you give me a yell Marina if I’m off track.

Q:        What’s the current timeline of the MAC portal API being available?

Do I have the right person first of all?


Yes. Yes. That’s definitely my space. So in my space I look after all of the core platform elements which is inclusive of the integration and the APIs. So I can answer this one. So what we’ve got is the developer portal. So this is probably where some terminology comes into play. So the developer portal is through the My Aged Care gateway but it does connect through into the new salesforce platform. So we are working to have that available in April and that’s going to enable our software developers to be able to come in, register, read through some of the conformance documentation and potentially test up in our lower environment. So April is our target for that and we’re working closely with Herbert and Laura around the conformance part of that.

Janine Bennett:

Excellent. Thanks Marina. That sets us off to a strong start. And during that time we’ve got Alana joining us on stage. Alana feel free to jump in when you’re ready.

Online Audience Member:

Hi. Thanks Janine. I appreciate it. My question is a bit naughty I know but I think it’s relevant to raise. I really appreciate the time everyone’s taking in delivering this information but in the end we are at the coalface trying to deliver services to people in their homes so they can stay there and we’ve got to come back to that all the time. And the way your projects are integrating with all the other Departments that we deal with in terms of basically being – we have to meet a lot of requirements in other areas. And the issue we’ve got is that we have cost and time limitations in terms of our technology, and I wouldn’t like to see a lot of small providers be forced out because of the inability to – it just becomes too hard and too expensive to link into the services. So I just wanted to put that up there, wanting to have that as a focus for the work that underlies work that you’re all doing because it is a big issue.

And as I think someone else has said in the slides there are hundreds of software providers all spruiking that they can do X, Y and Z and my experience is they can do part of it but not all of it. And if there was a gold star that you could give – not that I’m thinking you’ll do this – that says yep this product can integrate with our new system that would save us a lot of time in us trying to buy the product and work out that it doesn’t integrate with the system. Because you have to have a fair degree of knowledge to be able to work that out before you purchase. So it’s just wishful thinking. I don’t know if that’s something that exists but anyway it’s just my two cents worth.

And also building the costs into. We deliver personal care. We deliver housework. We deliver transport to real people. And the cost of that is not what it costs us to pay the wages of someone delivering that. It integrates all the stuff that we’re talking about today which I think was it Rosalie who was mentioning before. And I again just want to – I know that’s not your department but encourage that to be considered.

Fay Flevaras:

Thank you Alana. I’m going to say there was one there, I think it was from Lima, she mentioned the range of software as well. Look it’s a valid point and we love that you raise it. I think we definitely need to make sure we keep these things front of mind. There’s a lot of peak bodies that we’re working with out there as well to help us kind of define where we’re all going together and the different software. We can definitely work with them to kind of go well what’s all the software out there, what’s it used for. The best thing we can do is actually put out where we think the sector needs to be going forward so that we work it out together around what we’re trying to aim for. I must admit if you sat there today and said which software ticks the box that’s a really difficult statement to make because there is so much change coming and so we’re still working out that change together.

And so I think this is important that we have these sessions so that we can be communicating what’s coming and then you guys can keep letting us know some of your concerns, your impediments, some of your blockages from adopting so that we can adjust. If that means we need to build something a little bit differently to make it more available – one of the things we also talked about last year which we might bring back into a subsequent Tech Talk is just the spectrum of digital maturity out there as well. Some people are very manual in what they do, the smaller end, rural regional kind of thing. The large scale are very automated. We’re trying to apply change in a way that we’re trying to meet everyone’s needs.

I’m going to throw to the rest of the panel. Anyone else want to add any insights or thoughts? I’m going to put everyone on the spot now. Brian? Laura?

Laura Toyne:

I mean I really can talk on behalf of sort of the health side in the digital space so to speak and not the provider and business side. And yes you’re right. There are a large number of systems out there. I know someone said 420. I think I was aware of about 300 so I must have a gap somewhere in my knowledge. And equally there’s systems that will provide you with sort of the care-based healthcare information. From the Agency’s perspective we hold – we call it a conformance register and we’ve just sort of talked through conformance where it’s visible which products out there have that integration with My Health Record. And so that is available on the Agency’s website. But that is a subset I guess of the systems that you might be considering and I personally have not seen a product that does the whole suite of things that you might need out there. But no doubt there will be some innovative vendors probably even on this call that will be thinking about what that offering might be.

Online Audience Member:

Thank you.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks for coming up on stage Alana.

Janine Bennett:

Thanks very much. So we’re having some trouble getting Josely so I might just give a couple of prep notices for Ty, Taylor and Barry M and James D. If you guys can get ready to join the stage. In the meantime I’ll ask Josely’s question on her behalf.

Q:        Will the slides be available for people and circulated to attendees?

Absolutely the slides are available. Everything we do in the Tech Talk is published on our Health website. We have a Digital Transformation for Aged Care subsection under the Health website. After this event you’ll receive a post-event email and in that we’ll have links to all of the slides. We also as we’ve mentioned earlier have the videos that go up and of course on the video you get to see this whole thing as if you were here. So for sure you’ll get those.

Okay. We’ve got Barry M available to come on stage. Hi Barry. Welcome. Feel free to ask your question.

Online Audience Member:

Hi. Thanks for having me here. I want to start by saying congratulations to not just the people on the team here but obviously the wider teams. And if someone doesn’t stand up and do this then it’s never going to happen. But on the flipside of that as I’ve noted in my questions, and I think pretty much a lot of the commentary in the questions has been about affordability of this, and what I congratulate the Government on is the grant methodology so the ENRMC grant methods of let’s get medication management into aged care residential facilities and undertake that with a co-funding initiative. The grant funding was not enough to implement the piece of software so it is co-funded absolutely. That is a great way of getting providers to get on board and really mature their digital environments.

Fay you’re completely right. There are haves and there are have nots. I’ve spent 20 years in acute healthcare and there are haves and there are have nots even in the public sector. And so you have that across all areas. The grant co-funding model works because it has skin in both of the camps of both provider and Government to end up with a better outcome for those people who we’re caring for and providing services to. So I know there’s a long way to go but very much looking forward to seeing those kinds of initiatives that are co-funded.

Fay Flevaras:

Excellent. And Barry thank you so much for being so vocal about it in a respectful way. Thank you. It really does help us hearing the feedback so that we can take it back in and have some discussions. We are actively discussing it is all I can really say. And just being able to say look we’ve heard from the sector. This is what they’re thinking. There is an element of just the volume of software out there so if we’re going to do something like that it really needs to be a coordinated way of making sure that we’re investing in the right place and that the most amount of people are going to get the benefit from it as well. So it’s a complicated problem space. I think we just need to keep talking it through and providing options out there and see what we can do.

Online Audience Member:

The number of providers is not the concerning thing at all and having the conformance register is a great way of really filtering out the vendors that want to actively work with the sector. And the number of software vendors in acute care, way more than 420. I think it’s not about the number of vendors. It’s about the conformance and then the co-funding elements.

Fay Flevaras:

There was a stat someone put up previously in one of the comments. I think it was 159 data points for quality indicators. It’s about the data. It’s about the volume of data. It’s about the different types of data. They come from different systems. So it’s about how do we integrate that and get it connected and make it available and make it accessible for people. I know it’s beyond the scope of Government. In some ways that’s the private sector in that sense. What software, especially modern types of software where they’re consumption based, they only pay for what they use, software vendors can come to the party and make things happen. But we might leave it there. Thank you so much for coming up on stage and we really appreciate the feedback.

Janine Bennett:

Thanks very much Barry. So I might just give a warning to the next round of people we’ll be inviting to stage which is Ben Lagross and Emma Hossack. We’ll look forward to talking to you in a moment. In the meantime we should have Ty or James D available to go.

James D hi.

Welcome to the stage. If you might just - - -

Online Audience Member:

Can you hear me?

Janine Bennett:

We can. Thank you. That’s great.

Online Audience Member:

Great. I have to leave right now to take my wife to the doctors but those questions that I asked were basically related to value-based care. And as somebody that has been dealing with that for over 20 years or so overseas I’m quite interested in seeing that come to fruition here in Australia.

You’re talking about advances in healthcare technology and IT. You should go to those countries that I’ve been to which haven’t got anything. You need to develop them from scratch basically. And the way I looked at it overseas that is is to set it up from start to finish. The moment the episode entered the system it was tracked right through by an episode number through the whole system until it either – that particular episode or disease was cured or it continued for long term care. That would be another component. That’s the way I looked at it. And based on that particular I would say value set or philosophy we actually got somewhere with that. And I was wondering – my question is is there any simple process available at this present time to fast track this, by for example getting all these systems and the questions regarding the quality which are excellent and all that on to some sort of simple template, sending it off and mandating it or insisting within all the sectors of healthcare to actually go in and provide through a central data bank which can be used to develop these clinical care pathways which are the best value that we can provide? And then we can set our funding.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks James. I think you provide a very good point about a human-centred care and making it about the person and then the activity or the episode and making sure that we track it from start to end. And I think that’s one of the big changes that we’re trying to make within the digital transformation, what we’re trying to collect and making sure that good care outcomes happen within Government and the My Health Record is collating a repository of information like you said to be able to see things. I still think there is a way to go in what it looks like, what good value‑based care as you say, and is that something that we do here or is that something the private sector can help by bringing that end to end view I think is something that we need to continue having the discussion on. But like to thank you. You’ve got two or three comments in there. We’ll definitely take those away with us.

Online Audience Member:

My apologies.

Fay Flevaras:

No. Don’t apologise at all. They’re great insights and we thank you for coming up on stage. And we might let you get back to your wife and make sure she gets to the doctor. Thank you.

Online Audience Member:

Thank you so much. Thank you for listening. Bye.

Janine Bennett:

Thanks James. Safe travels for you guys. We’ve got Ty now coming to stage. So Ty.

There you are. You had four comments in the space so I thought great opportunity for you to put those to the panel.

We can’t hear you.

Fay Flevaras:

You might have to check your audio settings. Just pick a - - -

Janine Bennett:

It looks like you’re off mute so it might be something - - -

Fay Flevaras:

Pick one more speaker or microphone setting. Not yet.

Janine Bennett:

In the meantime we might get Ben on stage as well and Ty can keep working through it. Hi Ben.

Online Audience Member:

Hi all. How are you?

Can you hear me?

Janine Bennett:

We can. Jump in.

Online Audience Member:

So we’re a software vendor and we are on the conformance register of the My Health Record and we work closely in GP with a shared health record. When will you be opening it to other software vendors to be added? Like Leigh said there’s over 420 pieces of software out there and I know you’re working with a major amount of them at the moment. But is there any opportunity to get those other vendors on board or put them in a system where they can be rated on their compliance?

Fay Flevaras:

So a couple of things there. It’s a two part question in my mind. So I’m going to throw to Laura first around specifically the My Health Record bit of the answer.

Laura Toyne:

Yeah. Thanks Ben. It’s a good question. So obviously we’ve got the health focus of the aged care reforms and you’re obviously well aware that we have our conformance register out there for products, software products that have that integration with My Health Record that are conformant. We have that same approach for electronic prescribing products, that same approach for the wordy electronic national residential medication chart as well. And so we’ve got that kind of view I guess across some of the products available that support access to healthcare. But I’d have to kind of talk to Fay about what might be in the Department’s mind here around a similar sort of approach around all of the other arrangements. And we’ll obviously look to establish one for the conformance around the Business to Government Gateway. But yeah over to you Fay about what you might be considering more broadly in the provider space.

Fay Flevaras:

Yeah. That’s fantastic Laura. So that’s specifically to the health data, the My Health Record data. But then assuming you’ve got an even conformance, because we’re trying to be consistent there, then the idea is on the aged care side of it we just want to be able to publish the APIs out in advance. So we’re working on this, trying to design the data model and a catalogue of APIs in advance, and then we’re opening it up for everyone to build against in that sense.

So we’re not shortlisting a procurement process to go we’re going to pick the 16 or 18. What I’m trying to do is be very transparent to the community and give you guys the data, the information that you need and then allow the sector to build ahead of the curve and connect through an agreed interface and model. And that’s that open source community that we’re trying to encourage I suppose Ben.

Now my focus specifically at the moment is all of this quality indicator, star ratings, reporting, quarterly financial reporting. They’re the APIs I’m talking about getting out there so that the software community can go ahead and build and make everyone’s life there much easier. So does that answer your question there Ben?

Online Audience Member:

Yep. Thank you.

Fay Flevaras:

Yep. So definitely opening it up to everyone. If there is some really smart software startup people who want to get out there and automate a lot of this for the sector then great. That’s on them and then they’ll just need to follow the conformance process to get connected and they can absolutely make a difference to the transformation that we’re all trying to do here.

Janine Bennett:

Great. Thanks very much Ben. So if we can bring Emma to stage. We had a little bit of trouble with getting Ty’s audio to work but there were a number of comments. Feel free to scroll through the Slido and you’ll be able to see them. He mentioned that he’d like to bring star ratings for software providers. There was a comment also about many of the local government providers having to exit as they have to address the upcoming QI. And I’m guessing there’s a burden around that. QI being quality indicators. And some comments around not having an affordable platform to meet all of the requirements and that we need a plan to proceed. So thanks Ty for those comments. Apologies if I’ve missed anything.

In the meantime Emma welcome to stage. Great to have you.

Online Audience Member:

Hi Fay. Thank you very much. A lot of the comments that have been made I’m hoping I can crystallise in this but I think I misspelled something in my question. What I was getting at is that rather than a star rating which can be very expensive for the Government – they have to maintain it. We’ve seen how long it took for that to happen with the provider services. I mean it’s obviously happened now but there’s been talk about it for over ten years.

So I think the suggestions which have been coming through are all indicating that providers of services are finding it difficult to choose which software package. There are so many. There might be one that’s absolutely appropriate for them but then they don’t know if it meets all the standards. Has it got the appropriate security profile? Is it going to be robust enough for a cyberattack? Has it got the privacy things covered off? Is it an open interoperable API using fast smart? Whatever is deemed to be useful in this interoperable aged care ecosystem, at least if we have an agreed – I think there’s about seven quotes which would be pretty useful for industry. Certainly they have, and various little groups, just to give everyone confidence, I know that there’s been four or five little hubs of companies getting together – and I’ve seen them written up in some of the press like Pulse IT – kind of getting together and saying okay well you do the telehealth part and we’ll do the shared record part, we’ll do the payment, etcetera, etcetera. And they have all agreed we’ll have to obviously be conformant to X, Y and Z or we won’t want to shake hands.

So that side is good and positive but then there needs to be certainty about what those levels would be for them to be conformant to. And I know when I buy something like a bar of chocolate or a jar of vegemite you have the heart check thing. You might not look at it in detail but at least you know that it’s not full of something that’s going to kill you. And with software similarly it’s very complicated. So at least if you know that the fundamentals are dealt with and you’re buying software that you don’t then have to pay to be modified to work with Medicare for example or something else bizarre because those things can happen. So I think that would be really useful for us to work together with the Agency/Department on and then let there be as many different systems as you like. Give the consumers the choice what they want to use. Because I don’t think cutting it down and saying it should be one size and one type of software – that’s I think where a lot of people are probably finding it difficult and that might be one way of solving it.

Fay Flevaras:

So thanks Emma for the insights. I think you’re right and I think that the sector partner community, the conformance process we’re going through and defining together, this is all part of I think part of the answer you’ve just said. You’re right. For us in the aged care side of things there’s not a tendering process for software vendors to go through. That’s not what we’re doing here. We’re defining an open, connected health and aged care data model that then we can put out the design so that the sector can go and start transforming themselves ahead of the curve. That’s the goal. I think we’re in the middle of defining that altogether. And so to your point I think there’s a bit of work still to be done. And yes, and that’s why we’re here. We want to hear from you guys. I know that I have received a question from one of the peak bodies around if they were to go and build some software overseas would we connect it to our Government systems. And so there is some work that we need to do together about defining what’s that minimum standard around sovereignty, privacy and security. So that’s all part of that conformance piece that we’re talking about. And we will actively post all that information here in the coming Tech Talks as we continue to build that out together.

So we’re hearing you guys. There’s just a lot of work to do together. And yes we want you guys to be part of the designing and that’s why we do the codesign activities together.

Online Audience Member:

Sorry. Just one lesson from [1:30:13]. We learnt that if you got conformance when you’re doing an API [1:30:18] - - -

Fay Flevaras:

We get faster.

Online Audience Member:

Yeah. But if you didn’t have conformance people didn’t know so they were able to buy it much more cheaply for non-conformance software.

Fay Flevaras:

Exactly. We will definitely make sure that we’re making who those people are that are conforming visible. But I think we’re at time right Janine?

Janine Bennett:

We are. We’re actually really cutting it close today. So I feel like the bad guy because this is a really good conversation. But sadly we’re going to have to take the rest of the questions offline. We’ll collate those questions. We’ll feed them back to presenters and we’ll figure out what themes you need us to hit on in future Tech Talks.

Thank you everybody for another great discussion. A belated Happy New Year to everyone. This has been a really good kick off for our series for 2023. We couldn’t be happier about how it’s gone. Many thanks to our presenters and our panellists, Fay, Brian, Laura and Marina, Herbert, Josh and Emma. Great to have such a broad spectrum of expertise and representation on our agenda today.

So recordings as I mentioned for the event will be published on the Digital Transformation area on the Health and Aged Care website in the next week or so. You’ll receive a post-event email which will have a link to our survey. As Fay covered earlier we definitely listen to what you say in the survey response so please as many people complete it as possible. You can take that link in the post-event email or you can use the QR code that’s on screen now to access that survey.

In the meantime email us any suggestions for agenda items or you can add that information into your survey response. We’ll pick it up from there. Any questions can be emailed to the Digital Transformation Office and the email address is on screen now. Fay that’s it from me. Hand over to you for a closing statement. Thanks very much.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Janine. And so a big thank you and welcome back to this year. And if we thought our agenda was big last year this year is going to be mammoth. So at the end of the day we’re here to improve the lives of older Australians and for those that care for them. And we can only do that if we’re listening and working with each other. We have been seriously humbled by the willingness of so many across the sector to get in and get their hands dirty with us and provide their valuable time and insights. We appreciate it because we know we can’t do it alone.

So we look forward to seeing you next time. And as always tell us what you think is working and what is not and we are genuinely listening. Thank you. Have a good day.

[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘In Closing’, ‘Visit the Digital Transformation page on the Health and Aged Care website’, ‘Email us at’, ‘Take the Event Survey’, with image of a QR code]

[End of Transcript]

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