Digital Transformation Tech Talk – 31 May 2023

In this webinar, the speakers provided an update on Aged Care reform, the Quality Indicators initiative, and the Support at Home program – as well as provided an update on our digital transformation roadmap and timeline.

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Recording and transcript


Janine Bennett:

Good afternoon or good morning depending on where you’re joining us from across Australia and beyond. It’s great to have you with us today for our ninth webinar in our Tech Talk series run by the Digital Transformation and Delivery Division in the Department of Health and Aged Care. My name is Janine Bennett. I’m the Engagement Lead for the Digital Transformation Program and today’s event moderator.

So we’re really happy to have you with us for our ninth Tech Talk. I’m joining you from Canberra, Australia, the lands of the Ngunnawal people. Before we get into today’s agenda I’d like to start with an important acknowledgement of the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land I’m on today and also to offer recognition to other people or families with connections to the lands of the ACT and the region. I wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of our cities and regions, and to acknowledge and welcome any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people joining us today.

Your attendance is particularly significant in this, the National Reconciliation Week, a week in which we as a nation collectively celebrate, share and cherish the enduring knowledge, history, contribution and voice of our first Australians. So happy Reconciliation Week to all.

Okay. So some quick housekeeping items for the Tech Talk. As always the webinar is being recorded. The recording will be made available on the Health and Aged Care website as soon as the closed captioning is completed. That’s typically a week or so after this event. If you have any technical difficulties during the webinar today we recommend that you use the phone line to dial back in. The phone number and an access code are included in your invite so you can use that to rejoin us.

As with all of our Tech Talks we’ve set aside some time at the end to have a conversation. Raising questions is easy. Simply use the Slido app which is typically available on the bottom right hand of your Webex screen. Type in your question in Slido, click ‘Submit’ and your query will workflow it’s way through to becoming a public question. If you see a question you like in Slido definitely vote it up. We’ll try and hit those most popular questions first. For those that are new to our Tech Talks we do like to invite anyone raising questions to join us on the virtual stage so you can ask your question in person. We find this approach really helps to foster a good conversation between our panel and our audience. So hopefully you’re feeling brave and you’re open to submitting a question and coming on stage and asking it on the virtual stage. Simply submit your question using your name rather than anonymous in Slido if you’re open to doing that. We’ll be ready to invite you to the stage. I’ll give you some warning beforehand so you have a little prepare time. Our technical director will then queue you up on the stage. All you need to do is unmute and turn your video on to ask your question and it’s as easy as that.

But for those of you who are having a bad hair day or feeling a little bit shy, no worries. You can still submit your question under anonymous instead of your name or just add a note to your question saying ‘No stage’. If I see that I’m happy to ask the question on your behalf. It’s better when people come to the stage though so we do encourage you to do that if you’re up for it. And I promise our panellists are a welcoming, friendly bunch. We’ve got a pretty full agenda today but as always we’ll do our best to get through as many questions as we can before we run out of time at the end.

Okay. So that’s it for our housekeeping. I’ll see you all again during Q&A but for now I have the pleasure of introducing our host. Fay Flevaras is the First Assistant Secretary of Digital Transformation and Delivery Division and she’s responsible for leading the digital transformation for aged care on behalf of the Department. Fay over to you.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Janine and hello everyone. Welcome back to another Digital Transformation webinar series. We thank you for joining us. Today’s agenda is jam packed and I’m really happy to say that we have Thea Connolly joining us today to give an update on aged care funding that came out of the May Budget and our policy more broadly. We’ve also got Joshua Maldon is back to talk to us about quality indicators. And we also have Nick Morgan who will give us an update on Support at Home Program which is a subject that you guys have requested from us a number of times so thank you for the suggestion. And we heard you and so we’ve invited Nick along to talk to all things Support at Home. We also have our Tech Talk regular in Laura Toyne joining us from the ADHA, Australian Digital Health Agency, to give us an update on their upcoming work as well.

As always our presenters will be here at the end for Q&A and so please put your questions in as we go into Slido and as Janine mentioned we will look at those at the end.

So just first things first before we get to our panel presenters. I’d like to start out by talking us through the current status of the digital transformation initiatives that we’re working on. A bit tongue tied today folks. And so I just want to give a little bit of a recap on what we’ve been working on since our last meeting and what we’re planning to work on between now and when we next meet.

So this is the working timeline for our portfolio releases. If I could just get the next slide please. We’ve made a commitment to keep sharing this timeline with you. Be aware changes to this timeline are possible and probably even likely. Our scope sequence and deadlines will be determined by Government and so some of the work will evolve as final decision making happens in the policy areas. And so we work in parallel with them as we develop this which means some of our timelines are subject to change. We work in an agile and iterative approach and as always we’re ready to pivot if or when a policy or program priority might change and we have different decision updates.

So it’s important nothing we discuss here should be considered as an official commitment of a date from Government. But this is the plan we are working with in the division and we are trying to be open and transparent to give you as much early knowledge as we can.

Before I move into the actual dates of our timeline I wanted to quickly mention that we’ve been working with our Tech Talk partners, our sector partners around the look and feel of this slide. I know it’s a bit small and it’s a little bit hard to read and so I personally am keen to change the view of this a little bit and also include the engagement activities that are happening in concert with our technical delivery, so where we’re asking the sector partner community to design with us to provide us information around defining the problem and all the other activities that we’re doing. So I wanted to let you know that we’re working on a new look and feel for this diagram which we hope to release in the new financial year so stay tuned for that.

But for now let’s go through some of the current timelines and some of the highlights of our recent deliveries. As mentioned in our last Tech Talk we’ve been focused on the series of RBITS releases which is our risk-based targeting and information sharing system. We had releases completed in April which updated the risk-based targeting system in use by our Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission colleagues. This is so that we can improve the data management around admission events and services including bed place counts and providing better risk reporting in general. So this month we’ve also completed further RBITS enhancements focused on risk application user interfaces for the Commission.

So moving on to what’s coming up next the systems trial for the Quarterly Financial Reporting will be finishing up over the next few weeks. This was part of the sector partner community where the trial was built on previous research and we invited representatives from across the sector to test the new Quarterly Financial Reporting system and the associated supporting products that we’ve developed. Participants have been focused on testing how they will input the data into the new QFR form as well as generally exploring the system and providing feedback on the new user experience that we’re developing. It will be interesting to see what the results come back for this piece of work and we’ll be sure to do a deeper dive into this in future Tech Talks.

Also this July we have enhancements planned for single assessment workforce noting that initially these changes will be released in a dormant state ready to become fully activated in 2024. We’ve also got the new mobile application platform upgrade that we’re doing where we initially invited a small group of individuals to use the updated beta product that we’ve developed before making it accessible to everyone. We’ve got respite extensions will be made available for clients with legacy care approvals and care minutes calculation periods will also be updated with some additional builds added on the portal.

We also aim to complete phase two transitioning of our business authentication manager and we’ll be decommissioning three of our home care package letters including the readiness letter, the not seeking service letter and the reminder letter. There’s a lot going on folks. So the July release will also include more enhancements for star ratings, approved provider annual statements, we’ve got some minor enhancements for dollars going into care and some progress on quality indicators which Josh will of course talk us through today.

It's busy as ever and I don’t think it’s going to be slowing down. We have the May Budget which Thea will give us an update on and we’ll be using that to help then forecast what the next financial year looks like for us. And we will be providing that to you in that new look and feel that I spoke to you about.

But for now I have the pleasure of introducing Thea Connolly. She is the First Assistant Secretary of Reform, Implementation Division in Ageing and Aged Care Group and I can’t think of a better person to give us an update on the broader funding and policy goals that underpin everything we do in digital transformation. Thanks Thea. Over to you.

Thea Connolly:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Funding and policy for a modern aged care system’, ‘Thea Connolly’, ‘First Assistant Secretary’, ‘Reform Implementation Division’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Group’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’]

Thanks Fay. Thanks for the introduction and thanks for inviting me to be here today. I think you’ve had a few representatives from my division come and talk about GPMS, B2G data strategy, possibly digital strategy over the past year or so. And I’m really excited to actually have ten minutes – I’ve promised Janine I will not go over time – to talk to you about the overarching Budget strategy that we are operating within.

And so what I’ll do today is hit some of the highlights for Budget but also talk a little bit about how that links in to the digital transformation agenda that I know you are all interested in today. Next slide thank you.

So the Government’s priority is for all older people in Australia to feel confident about accessing high quality aged care where and when they need it. And so that’s obviously a very big task and we have been working very hard to make sure that we have good progress implementing not only Royal Commission recommendations but also key election commitments that the Government announced when it came into Government just over a year ago. It’s important to note though, and I know this group does know, we all have a role to play in ensuring older people receive the care that they need, deserve and respect. We can make this a reality by embracing technology and we must embrace technology in order to have a modern aged care system that connects into the health system.

So today I will give you a sense of what the Budget has funded for aged care, how that supports our and Government’s priorities for the forthcoming financial year and the outcomes and benefits we expect and certainly hope that this will deliver for older people in Australia. The digital transformation agenda is a critical enabler and that will make a difference to the lives of many people. And I know I certainly do and I know many of you will have loved ones who are either in or about to receive care and we want to make sure that that care is delivered in a way that’s secure, high quality and accessible. And so I will also give a brief update on elements of our digital transformation noting that Fay and others will be talking in much greater detail about key activities. Thank you.

So key take outs from the Budget. And apologies to those of you that were at my session at the MSIA I think a fortnight ago now. A lot of this has obviously been published since the Budget so you may have already heard it but I’m very happy to answer any questions at the end if you’ve had time to think about it since the Budget was announced. But if you haven’t here are the highlights. So $36 billion is forecast to be spent on aged care in 2023-24. That is up $5 billion from the estimate for the same period from the October Budget. For those of you that are watching a little bit more closely you will know straight away that a key driver of that was the Government’s investment of $11.3 billion for aged care workers to receive a pay rise. That’s over four years. So some of that in 23-24 and then the rest out over the forward estimates.

The Budget also includes $81.9 million over three years to progress the first phase and significant work needed for a new Aged Care Act expected to start as planned on the 1st of July 2024. So we know that there is a lot of work to do to hit that deadline not the least on the Parliamentary and drafting side but also on the digital technology side. And so of that $81.9 million there’s a significant proportion in just one year to invest in aged care ICT systems to support the new Act including discovery and design work to plan ICT changes, analysis of changes needed for the My Aged Care website, the development of a national capability framework self-assessment tool to understand the sector’s digital capability. Because we know that a lot of what we do will need to be delivered obviously by the sector and including the workforce that is on the frontline of aged care.

And so there’s also an investment for training and information for aged care workers and service providers to ensure that the workforce can use the ICT solutions that are being designed and codesigned including through this group. And there’s also a very important portfolio management capability for us to coordinate ICT delivery dependencies, planning and implementation. Thank you.

To make sure that we do get this right the new Support at Home Program that Nick will talk with you about has been postponed until the 1st of July 2025. However there is significant investment allocated to home care reform in this Budget, $172 million. The additional 12 months gives us some time to refine the program design with you and with service providers and also more time to prepare for the change. And Nick will obviously talk about that. There is still a lot of work to do. We cannot rest. The 23-24 Budget also includes apart from those headline items a really big investment to extend the program that’s called shorthand DSOA, or Disability Support for Older Australians. Up until now that had only been funded one year at a time. And so the Budget makes that an ongoing program which is great news for those that rely on that support. There’s some certainty around that program.

There’s close to $100 million for aged care viability support programs to continue and the providers in the audience will know probably much more about those than I do from within my place in Ageing and Aged Care Group. But there’s some terrific information on the website about those programs if you want to know more. There is $15.7 million to establish a new comprehensive single assessment system and again Nick and perhaps Laura can cover that off. And there’s also noting the home care reform has been deferred investments for additional home care packages to make sure the waiting list for home care packages doesn’t blow out. Further investment around aged care regulatory framework in the context of a new piece of legislation as well as linking to primary care reform, $112 million to support every aged care resident to receive continuity of care from a regular GP. This is the GP access incentive continuing. We’ll just click over.

So noting that significant investment – and that’s just some of the highlights – the Budget will allow us to continue delivering programs as well as investing in those new priority areas. I’ve mentioned the new Aged Care Act. And most people don’t think of legislation as an IT program but this new Aged Care Act is essentially IT driven. It’s not quite a complete rewrite but it will adjust the focus of the legislation from the provider to the recipient of care. And so putting the patient at the centre if you like. And it’s designed very much to protect the rights of older people for safe, quality care through a rights-based approach. And I know that my colleagues and the Minister will be talking a lot more about what that means in practice over the coming months.

We will of course still be regulating providers. So there will be improvements to systems to enter and access aged care, a robust provider registration scheme, increased protections for whistleblowers and a better complaints framework, improving the information management framework to protect personal and sensitive information and support data sharing and grants to fund specialist and enabling services. We’re also introducing – I’ve mentioned the new regulatory framework. You will know about monthly care statements. They’re being introduced into residential care. We’re improving food and nutrition support and regulation and enhancing star ratings for older Australians and Josh can talk ad nauseum about star ratings. Funding arrangements are also a priority and the Government has established an Aged Care Taskforce to review the funding arrangements for aged care and to investigate how to ensure that the aged care system embeds best practice and innovation. And if you read the press you’ll see quite a bit of speculation about what the Taskforce will do. I can’t give you any more information than that. It's certainly a high priority for Government in terms of how we can make our care system sustainable is receiving a lot of coverage. Next slide thank you.

So as I’ve mentioned there’s a lot happening and Fay’s given a sense of that as well and I’m sure that’s why you’re here. This is a massive change. It’s a once in a generation change. Although once we do deliver on the bulk of Royal Commission recommendations we by no means expect that that will be set and forget and we’ll be looking to make sure that we are in an aged care system and culture that sees room for continual improvement and fostering innovation within the system.

In the meantime though we do know that there are pressures and impacts on everyone of the change, people receiving services, aged care workers and those providing services, including in the digital and technology sector. We can’t deliver this reform without collective efforts from everybody involved. And so we do have a strong focus on supporting aged care providers to transition to new requirements through coordinated change management and widespread communication to minimise the impacts on service delivery including forums like this. We’ve already designed reform policies to inject funding into the sector to uplift service quality for example through the AN-ACC funding model. And what we expect is that returns on providers’ investment in digital transformation that will be well designed and well informed through codesign processes will be achieved by realising benefits from fit for purpose and scalable digital solutions.

Especially post-COVID providers’ ability to put in place contingency plans and to pivot when needed is vital to the quality of service and safety of older Australians and Government has recognised that digital capabilities are a key enabler to emergency response preparedness. We do ask providers to embrace transparency and innovation and to commit to continual improvement.

I will just hit some of the highlights on the Royal Commission because I suspect I might be approaching my ten minutes. This is a little bit of context. The Royal Commission did recognise the importance of systems. I’ll skip over that slide and head straight onto the next one.

Next slide. Thank you. So the Department is driving its digital transformation agenda to enable better connected aged care IT network that’s efficient, scalable and responsive. And it’s great to have Laura on the call today and previously Emma Cook presented to you about the GPMS. So regulars to these sessions will know that we’ve developed or we are developing a further modernised repository of provider business service and regulatory compliance information in the Government provider management system to replace the outdated legacy system of NAPS. So the GPMS will ensure necessary provider payments and service delivery to older Australians are supported by robust and integrated systems across Government. B2G is a big part of that. So a business to Government connection for information to be shared directly between My Aged Care and aged care providers. And we’re working with aged care providers and software vendors to collect their views, understand their preferences and test appropriate technology and process solutions with a view to providing automated solutions where possible.

We do expect B2G will increase the efficiency and ease of provider information exchange with My Aged Care, lessen the regulatory administrative burden, improve data quality and allow more time for workers to spend on direct care delivery to older Australians.

We’re using an agile approach to develop, test and release functionality across certainly GPMS and anticipated for B2G as well as everything that we do and that means that applications can be used sooner by the sector to make administration and reporting easier. Over time new and enhanced features will become available on GPMS. We know the star ratings preview was launched in April and we do anticipate there will be additional tiles made available soon and also eventually supported by B2G.

To make sure that we’re all pulling in the right direction we do have an aged care digital strategy and aged care data strategy under development. You have heard a little bit about those two strategies in this forum and you will hear more in the near future. We have held up a little bit because there’s so much happening in the strategy space not only in the Health portfolio with ADHA, with the Agency, but also from a whole of Government perspective. So we’re just taking the time to make sure that our strategy connects in well with the other work that is being done in the strategic space. And similarly with the aged care data strategy although that is on a slightly closer time horizon and that’s to make sure that providers can understand their data collection and reporting obligations and have access to timely information that supports service improvement initiatives. So we’ll be working with vendors to support providers with software based on clear and consistent data standards and specifications.

Now I will leave it there Fay and certainly be very happy to answer questions at the end of the session.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks so much Thea. That was an excellent update from a funding and policy perspective. I won’t go into any more detail at this time. I think the priorities for age care reform become the fundamental drivers that we use to drive our digital solutions that we’re developing in collaboration with the sector. I think we’re working at the moment to consider how the latest Budget priorities influence our previously understood work plan and then we’ll be working to continue to forecast those digital priorities in our portfolio timeline. I expect we can give the sector a bit of an update on more detail of the practicalities of our Budget related work in our next Tech Talk. Might just leave it at that. And thank you so much Thea.

I might hand over now to – I think we’ve got Josh next. Here we go. Josh if you want to introduce yourselves and over to you.

Joshua Maldon:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program’, ‘Joshua Maldon’, ‘Assistant Secretary’, ‘Quality and Assurance Division’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Division’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’]

Lovely. Thank you so much for that Fay. And I’m also joined here – so I’m Josh Maldon, the Assistant Secretary of the Choice and Transparency Branch. And thanks for having me back again to talk to you about quality indicators. And I’ve also got my Director here Erin Baker who’s currently directing the Quality Indicator Program. So just want to give you a thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to check in with us so we can give you a bit of an update of what’s happening in the quality indicator space which is a fair bit of change.

So just to run you through I did want to give you a bit of context, give you some information on the new quality indicators, and Erin’s going to run you through the new Government Provider Management System tile and what the QIs look like within this construct. We’ll finish up and have some questions at the end.

So look just in terms of a bit of context – and you’ve probably heard me say this before in relation to other quality reforms – but I did want to give you just the background and the context of the Royal Commission. Quality indicators are one of the things that were really at the heart from a quality policy perspective. It recognised the role of quality indicators in measuring and improving the quality of aged care and what it said is that we need to define and make sure that aged care quality is understood and capable of being measured. And it pointed out the current data in the system is fragmented and that actually makes it difficult to determine the extent of substandard care. Now there’s a lack of information about service quality to inform consumer choice, provider quality improvement as well as Government risk-based regulation and policy development.

The Royal Commission, also really relevant to quality indicators, said that to have a consumer‑centred system we really need to have the voices of people receiving care being heard to ensure that the system is relevant and appropriate for the people it’s intended to support. That’s why I’m really excited about this set of quality indicators where it includes consumer experience and quality of life tools.

So to address the problem the Royal Commission recommended a really comprehensive approach to quality management with three linked elements. So indicators to measure quality, benchmarking for continuous improvement and a star ratings system to compare the performance of providers.

So in relation to how we responded to that Government has been looking at developing and introducing a new range of quality indicators across both residential and in-home care. And if I just talk to you about some of the background to the Quality Indicator Program which we have up there on that slide. So what quality indicators are is they measure important areas of care which impact people’s health and wellbeing. And so we introduced the Quality Indicator Program to support quality improvement really focusing on that cornerstone of measuring and monitoring critical care areas. And the three objectives that we’re seeking to achieve through the QI Program is first and foremost – this is really important – is to improve and support the ability of providers to measure, monitor and improve the quality of care they provide. And then secondary to that it supports Government to make improvements at a system level through evidence‑based policy and regulation. And it’s also about rebuilding confidence in the aged care system by supporting older people and their families with more information to support choice as you can see there on the third icon there on the right.

And so the QI Program’s developed over time to the five indicators which have been in place since July 2021 and we’ve been working to expand that. And so from the 1st of April we introduced an additional six quality indicators to the program in residential aged care. Now developing those indicators that you can see there up on the slide it really follows a rigorous process, a scientific process, and it includes research to identify internationally, well established measures. We do extensive consultation with older Australians about what the areas of care that are most important to them as well as their families and representatives. And we also test with providers and stakeholders more broadly and feed in advice from technical experts to make sure we refine quality indicators to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

The quality indicators developed through that process are then adapted to the Australian context and trialled in a six week pilot with residential aged care services. And the pilot findings, they really helped us to refine the suite of quality indicators which again you can see there and the technical measurements that we take through those quality indicators. The Minister agreed last year to the introduction of the new QIs and we’ve been encouraging providers to commence reporting but the legal requirement actually commenced from the 1st of April 2023.

So in line with the requirements the first time providers are going to be submitting against these new quality indicators is from early July to 21 July through GPMS which I’m excited to hand over to Erin to talk you a bit through that and what it looks like.

Erin Baker:

Great. Thanks Josh. So I’m going to speak a little about submission of quality indicator data. So moving on to the next slide. As many of you might be aware the QI Program currently requires approved providers of residential aged care to submit their quality indicator data through the service and support portal via Siebel. The existing system is due to be decommissioned in June and replaced by Salesforce by way of GPMS which we heard a little bit about before from Thea. Providers will be required to submit data for the new and the existing quality indicators through the new Quality Indicator tile on GPMS. The look and feel of this will be quite similar to the previous service and support portal with timely updates and enhancements to support data submission.

The Quality Indicators tile will appear on GPMS for users with the appropriate access as you can see here. There’s the box in the red. And by clicking that Quality Indicators tile you’ll be taken to the Quality Indicator Data Entry and Submission page.

So on the next slide we have the Quality Indicator Data and Submission page. This will list all of the services accessible to the relevant provider. You’ll see that the list automatically defaults in order of dates with the most recent quarter at the top. The services can be filtered by name or ID, by reporting period or submission status using the banner toward the top of the screen. Now on this screen providers are able to view their QI Program data submissions and associated statuses for each service. They also are able to see the previous submission for a specific service by clicking the ‘View’ button on the right hand side. They’re also able to enter new submissions for specific services by clicking the ‘Start’ button again seen on the right hand side.

This page also has links to supporting materials including the program manuals, quick reference guides, frequently asked questions and modules that contain detailed information on quality indicator collection and reporting requirements and it also links to the reporting dashboard.

Moving on to the next screen this really shows what happens once you click a start button on the previous wire frame. So this screen is an opportunity to set up quality indicator targets. This functionality enables services to set up those targets for every single quality indicator. Now although the setting targets are not necessarily a requirement this can assist services with continuous quality improvement. A target rate for each quality indicator provides an opportunity to identify a minimum level of improvement and significant change either below or above the set targets can prompt analysis to identify possible opportunities for quality improvement.

Now moving on to the next slide.

This is a picture of the data reporting page for one of the quality indicators. Providers are able to enter data for each quality indicator working through the suite of quality indicators listed on the stepper or the navigation tool you can see on the left hand side. Once all quality indicator data is entered you’ll be directed to finalise your submission for the quarter.

Moving to the next slide this is an example of some of the inbuilt validations we have across the quality indicator data reporting pages. The stepper again on the left hand side provides you notifications or will provide notifications sorry to assist providers ensure data entry is complete for all their quality indicators. The blue circle as you can see here within the stepper shows that the relevant section is complete. The red circle warns of incomplete data or incorrect data that requires remediation prior to submission. And the yellow really is a warning message that’s indicative that there may be an error in some of the data and prompts users to go back to review that data to ensure it’s correct.

Moving on to the next slide once all the quality indicator data is entered correctly as shown here represented with all the blue circles in the left hand side stepper providers will be able to finalise the submission for the quarter. And on submission of the quality indicator data an email notification will be generated.

Moving on to the next section. I might hand back to Josh to kind of cover off reporting and the available resources.

Joshua Maldon:

Cool. Thanks Erin. So just to let you know as we go along we will do updates to the provider portal. So we’ll do changes, enhancements to the individual service reporting function. And so that will allow providers to review quality indicator results across services over time, compare results against national averages and against services within similar locations or services owned by the same provider. And again those reports are really intended at allowing providers to measure, monitor and improve their quality indicator results and ultimately services for older Australians.

So similar to previous QI Program reporting quality indicator results will also be available at the national, state and territory level on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s GEN Aged Care website. At this stage there’s no commitment to publish new quality indicators within the star ratings. That’s something that we’ll look at once the data matures over time and we can make some more sense of the data that we see.

So in terms of how we’re supporting the sector in this space we’ve adopted a range of tailored resources. So we’ll just jump through to the next slide. You can see the types of things that we have available. So first and foremost is the QI Program Manual. It’s certainly the bible of all things quality indicators. We also have quick reference guide, interactive modules, frequently asked questions and data recording templates to help you out. And we also have the My Aged Care Service Provider and Assessor Helpline as well. If people need assistance please utilise that service. The My Aged Care Contact Centre is also available for older people, their families and representatives for information and support in addition to that on the My Aged Care website.

So in terms of looking forward, what the next steps for the QI Program are, if we jump through to the next slide.

We look forward to launching the new Quality Indicators tile on GPMS which is that data submission in July. And again there will be targeted communications and guidance materials to support you. We will be looking at doing further enhancements again as we continue to build on the GPMS functionality to streamline reporting. And really excited to see where we go to in business to Government solutions as well. We’ll continue to support quality improvement again through those tailored resources which are available on our website and also work collaboratively with the Commission. And these resources, they’re really aimed at helping services understand their quality indicator data information so they can undertake those quality improvement activities to help support performance.

So moving forward in the 23-24 Budget the Quality Indicator Program does continue to expand and we’re excited that we’re going to be working on additional staffing measures in residential aged care. And so that will be looking at allied health professionals, enrolled nurses, lifestyle workers and the like. And again we’re going to be progressing work to expand quality indicators for in-home aged care.

So that brings us to the end of the presentation and look forward to taking any questions at the end of this session. Thank you.

Fay Flevaras:

Thank you Josh. Thank you Josh and Erin actually. Great to get a preview of the enhancements that are being developed for quality indicators. It’s part of our commitment to ensure that we’re collaborating and sharing early with the sector. So I’m sure if there’s questions they’ll reach out. And looking forward to you being in the Q&A later in the session today.

So now I’d like to introduce a newcomer to our Tech Talk stage, Nick Morgan our colleague from Home and Residential Division. We’ve had a lot of our audience very interested in the aged care Support at Home Program Nick so we’re glad to have you along to give us a little bit of a deep dive on certain parts of it. So over to you.

Nick Morgan:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Support at Home’, ‘Nick Morgan’, ‘Assistant Secretary’, ‘Home and Residential Division’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Division’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’]

Thank you Fay. Yeah. Look I’m always happy to come back and do a broader session if needed. So we did recently do a webinar however on Support at Home, I think it was the 18th of May, including discussing the Government’s decision to postpone the start date to July 2025. That should be available on the website now or if not very soon if you haven’t seen that. That will give us more time to work through the details of the program. And when I speak to service providers it’s absolutely the details that they want most.

So today I’m going to go into a bit more detail on two topics. The fee for service payment arrangements that are proposed under Support at Home as well as how we make self‑management work under the new program. And I guess the intention is to get this group thinking about what this might mean for digital solutions under Support at Home. And I also want to premise this presentation by saying it is our current thinking and we will be doing further testing and refinement over the current months and we’re currently sort of planning out what that schedule of targeted consultations will look like and we’ll be coming out with some opportunities for people to participate over the next six months. So if we jump to just the next slide.

So under the proposed Support at Home Program service providers will deliver services from a service list with price caps set by Government. That’s the model that’s been put forward. And then they’re paid for the units of services delivered. So there would also be supplementary grants for example in thin markets but I’m not going to be touching on the grant payments today.

This slide just sets out the very high level workflow for making payments under Support at Home. So it starts with a client being assessed as eligible, receiving a quarterly budget and finding a provider. The provider accepts the service referral, delivers services and then submits a subsidy claim to Services Australia. There’s likely to be a parallel process of claiming a client contribution from the client but those client contribution arrangements are really still yet to be settled and they’re going to be considered by a new Aged Care Taskforce that’s currently being established.

So our current expectation is the claims will be submitted monthly or more frequently if providers wish to. Services Australia would process the claim based on a set of business rules. Payment is then made to the provider allowing monthly financial statements to be provided to the client. And then the bottom swim lane notes that service information would be collected in the My Aged Care system.

So if we go to the next slide. What sort of information is going to be needed to make a claim? So under Support at Home providers will need to identify the units of each service type that are delivered to each client as well as the funding source that they’re claiming against. So this slide shows we would expect a range of identifiers and dates to be picked up, some of those sort of automatically picked up as well as services delivered to each client against three different funding sources which I’ll come to in a minute. So if we go to the next one.

So I’ll start here with the idea of a service list and price caps. The service list is being finalised based on advice that’s being developed over the coming months by the new Aged Care Taskforce that I mentioned. Advice on prices is also being developed at the moment by the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority through a costing study that’s now underway.

Look we expect to have a service list with sort of separate IDs for each service type including subservice types. So in this table I’ve put the example of allied health being split into multiple different allied health service types and I’ve included for example physio and podiatry as separate items. And then each service will be paid per unit. For many that will be per hour but I’ve included the example of meals that may be paid per delivered meal. I’ve listed illustrative subsidy levels in this table but please don’t put any weight on the actual numbers. These are just the top of the CHSP unit price ranges that were included in our discussion paper on Support at Home last October. So there’s a table in that discussion paper with those CHSP price ranges.

And providers will need to bill for each unit of service delivered at a rate that’s up to that maximum subsidy level.

So the next one goes to this idea of billing against different – I’m calling them cost centres just as a way of describing them, but different funding sources. So under Support at Home clients will have an individual quarterly budget against which the services they receive will generally be billed. But then the model also includes the concept of a flexible funding pool for service providers to meet temporary additional needs of clients, so if a client’s receiving extra services due to a carer being away or after a fall or something. But those services could be billed to the flexible pool at the provider’s discretion. And then thirdly we’re currently working through how best to fund care management services. And so given the need for care management for consumers can fluctuate we’re looking at potentially having a separate fund for providers to bill against for care management services so that it’s not tied to a quarterly budget which limits the amount that can be provided in any given quarter.

All right. Well if we go to the next slide. What does this mean for invoices? What might be in the actual invoice pulling it all together? So just to give a sense of how the different things I’ve been talking about could come together in an invoice I’ve just sort of knocked this up. And the first column lists the individual clients who have received services. The second column lists the service types delivered across the period. The next three columns specify the number of units delivered against the three different funding sources, the client’s budget, the flexible pool or care management fund. And then that second last column is the subsidy rate which as I say may be set at those kind of caps or below. And then I’ve included the sort of total dollars just multiplying the unit by the subsidy rate in the last column.

All right. So that’s a bit of a summary of how that kind of fee for service invoicing could work under the program. If we jump to the next slide the second area I just wanted to touch on today in far less detail than that is some of the challenges that we’re working through in terms of how to enable clients to manage their own services under the Support at Home Program where the model that’s been put forward would allow a person to have multiple service providers. So I’m going to whizz through this fairly quickly.

So this slide that’s up at the moment, the broad concept of self-management under Support at Home is that the person can source their own services from multiple providers if they wish to do so. So it doesn’t have that idea of a lead provider that we have in home care packages.

And as the next slide shows each provider then – what I’ve just described around invoicing – would invoice Services Australia as their services are delivered. And if we click through to the next one. The first challenge we then have is avoiding a situation where a client overbooks services and then there’s no funds left in the budget to pay the providers. So our program at the moment proposes quarterly budgets. So this is a sort of risk that might be likely in the last month of the quarter. In the example on the slide three providers get paid and when the fourth one submits their invoice there’s no funds left to pay them. So that’s something we want to avoid.

On the next slide I’ve just outlined some of the options that we’re looking at to manage this risk and the solution could be a combination of these. So firstly where a person books their services through a single online platform technically that should allow bookings to be tracked against budgets. But we still need to work through how that works in practice. Secondly there may be value in offering a lead provider – sorry come back to the slide.

The second option there is there may be value in offering a lead provider model similar to what we have today in the Home Care Packages Program for that coordination purpose to provide budget oversight. And thirdly it may be that some clients are prepared to sort of accept the risk of overbooking. So for example if they overbook services delivered above their budget would be billed to their personal credit card unless a provider has agreed to use their flexible fund. These are all just options at the moment that we’re working through but I just wanted to put some of this on the table early and give people the opportunity to comment. And we’ll be doing further consultations on this.

So the next slide now goes through to the second challenge that we’ve got to think through around people having multiple providers and that’s how care management would work. So if we jump again.

Ideally a care manager – or care partner is the language we’re actually using in Support at Home – would have access to any notes or alerts that are being made by care workers from every organisation delivering services. But where you have multiple different service providers that starts to become more difficult. If we go to the next slide this one again is just some of the options that could be available to assist that. But the challenge is how do we share that information where we do have multiple providers. Again there could be a sort of readymade solution for those people who choose to book their services through an online platform in terms of it being a central repository for client notes and care plans and so on. Again a lead provider model might also provide at least that central place for other providers to report notes in to but we’d still need a technical solution to facilitate that. Of course there are always the sort of manual processes that could be used, the email, the phone calls, etcetera for people who are self-managing their services, but obviously that’s not systematic. It allows things to slip through the cracks and it’s also not particularly efficient.

And then some stakeholders have also put to us well you do have the My Aged Care client record. Why wouldn’t you use that to add client notes and so on for people who are self‑managing for a care manager to have access to. So I think we’re going to need to do a bit more work in that space as well.

I think that’s the extent of what I wanted to cover today. I’m not sure how I went for time but happy to take questions when we get to the questions at the end. So thank you.

Fay Flevaras:

Thank you Nick. It’s quite interesting that you’ve given us text for some of the options that you guys are kind of thinking through. It will be good to work closely with you guys over the coming weeks and months as you evolve some of that thinking and test out how some of these things might get implemented. I know you’re doing a lot of work in the Support at Home and it has huge impacts around independent living so we’re really excited to see what the work involves too. Again we’ll have you stick around to join us on the panel. And so any questions you’ve got for Nick please put it in the Slido and tag it and we’ll get him up for questions soon.

Our last presenter today is a regular on our Tech Talk stage. So I’d like to welcome back Laura from ADHA to give us a bit of an update on all things in your space. Thanks Laura.

Laura Toyne:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Aged Care Program’, ‘Laura Toyne’, ‘Branch Manager’, ‘Clinical and Digital Health Standards Governance’, ‘Australian Digital Health Agency’]

Thanks Fay and thanks for having me again this afternoon. And I know we want to get onto the panel questions so I will make mine short and sweet as usual. So if we could go to the next slide that would be great.

Just a bit of a reminder of the kinds of things we are doing over here at the Agency to support the reform in the digital space where it goes to aged care. We are supporting those connections to My Health Record. We will be establishing standards for clinical information systems and we are working with the software sector to make sure that they have products available for you in the aged care sector that enable you to do those things. And critically, what I’ll go to later, is we are developing the digital aged care transfer summary. So next slide please.

So just a bit of an update. And I have talked about this before as I’ve come on the Tech Talk. We are drawing near to the end of our first industry offer phase which started around 12 to 18 months ago. We have three vendors that are currently conformant for My Health Record. That’s Best Practice, Acredia and MPS Connect. And we will have the remaining software vendors that we have been working with throughout the last 12 to 18 months also conformant to My Health Record over the coming months. And so we’re really excited by that outcome. Giving our residential aged care sector the ability to view and connect with My Health Record is a key part of those reforms.

What we have talked to some of the vendors about – and if you’ve heard this before my apologies but just to make sure that everyone hears – we are planning to release a second industry offer at this stage in about July, late July, and this one will also focus primarily on getting the ability to support the aged care transfer summary when it’s available as a sort of technical build in My Health Record later this year and also ensuring that if there are any vendors out there that did want to become conformant to My Health Record that they are able to work with us under the guise of that second industry offer to do so. And so that is something to look out for if you are a software vendor or developer out there, to look for that industry offer that we will release some time in July. So if I could go to the next slide please that would be great.

And I am going to keep this brief and I’ve got no doubt we will come back to you later in the year in relation to this. This is a very complex slide, and we’ve got two of them, in relation to the aged care transfer summary that is currently under development. This is more or less a bit of a journey map about how an aged care transfer summary will be generated and how that will move through the process with the client or with the resident or with the citizen as they make their way into hospital to support that safer transfer of their care and to ensure that that information gets to where it needs to to support those care outcomes at the hospital end.

So really if you just want to remember that the objective of this whole piece of work is to design and develop and implement the digital solution via My Health Record that really captures all of the information that we think is critical to enable that safe transfer of care as someone does move from that residential aged care sector and into hospital. The initial solution as we touched on before as well will be sort of that unstructured document approach using all of the things in the My Health Record space with respect to the regulations and the clinical document architecture and our standards and processes. And so that’s what we have been working on for the last little while and that’s what we’ll be keen to work with vendors on over the next six months or so. And if I could just go to the final slide.

This slide just gives a bit of a system view, a bit of the information model as it relates to the new aged care transfer summary that will be available. Importantly here things to know are there are three new bits of information, key bits of information that come into being as a result of the work that’s currently underway. Importantly we’ve been advised through the consultations and UX design process that the Agency’s run that one of the most critical bits of information for a clinician receiving a patient or a resident into hospital is that reason for transfer. So that will be a new bit of information that we will be capturing through this process. Equally important is a summary, a care summary or a healthcare summary in relation to that resident. And these are sort of datasets that we’ll be pulling from systems that are really related to the clinical information about that resident.

And last but not least as one of the newer bits of information that will come in and will be collated is the residential medication chart. And that’s obviously why we are working with the electronic medication management vendors out there around making sure that we can have as a part of that transfer summary, and that is available as part of that transfer summary, sort of the prescribed medicines that a resident will be on as well as information that’s really important and critical like nutritional supplements which doesn’t exist anywhere now.

So that’s just a snapshot. We do know we’ll have to come back and talk a little bit more about it. But there’s been a raft of information I think thrown at the group today from everyone, from Thea and Nick and Josh so it’s a little bit of a touch point now from the ADHA in this forum. But I’ll end there Fay so that you can start your panel.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Laura. And we’ll just keep you up on stage I think given that we’re going to start our Q&A. And I’ll invite all of our other panel speakers up to the stage and Janine I will hand it over to you to moderate us through our Q&A.

Janine Bennett:

Great. Thank you very much Fay and thanks to our panel members. We might just shrink down the Q&A slide. There we go. Thanks guys running the stage. Doing a great job there. Okay. So great to have everybody back on the stage. This is the good part. This is where we get into some interesting conversation with our aged care and digital transformation experts. I want to start by giving some warning to a couple of people who’ve submitted some popular questions. So Richard, Regan and Shalen we’ll invite you to join us on the stage next. While we’re waiting for those folks to be queued up we had a couple of anonymous questions that I’ll just quickly touch on. So the first one was:

Q:        Will a link to the video recording be available after the session?

It absolutely will. We publish the video recordings as soon as the closed captioning is complete on the Department of Health and Aged Care website. We have a link in our post-event email so you’ll be able to get there nice and easily.

We also had a query from Praveen about the copies of the slides. Just so you know that goes up on the exact same location on the Department of Health and Aged Care website. Again you’ll get a link to that in the post-event email.

Okay. So how are we going? Do we have Richard available yet?

Audience Member:


Janine Bennett:

Here he comes. Hi Richard. Welcome.

Audience Member:

Thanks for having us. I must admit when I was listening to this presentation I wasn’t expecting to see you all but thank you. Really enjoyed the theme of today. Lots of things happening in the space and thank you for the support for the sector. This is not going to be the easiest transition but I think it’s a worthwhile transition. And throughout a number of your presentations you talked about innovation and digital innovation. And I love that. I think that’s fantastic. But to support innovation it does take funds whether it’s organisations like mine contributing or getting innovation funds coming from Government. I was wondering whether you’d put any money aside or whether there was an opportunity for the sector to get access to some funds for innovation purposes?

Janine Bennett:

Okay. So we might put that question first to Thea and then we’ll see if anybody else wants to pick it up. Thea over to you.

Thea Connolly:

Thanks Janine. Thanks Richard. So the Government’s position on digital transformation financial incentives is variable and that’s because it’s influenced by a wide range of factors including regulation. So are we mandating or regulating some things to happen? Sector maturity. Can the sector do this by itself or does it need assistance? Operating ecosystems and environmental characteristics. The uptake of digital solutions in the aged care sector specifically is not mandated so we don’t require you to have particular systems. And so what we are doing through the work with Fay and others is working with the sector to make sure that the offerings are appropriate, that they will improve quality of care, reduce compliance burden through appropriate technology etcetera.

And so at this stage from an aged care policy perspective we’re working with vendors and providers to codesign those solutions rather than mandating a particular approach. The co‑investment model in this way enables vendors and providers to leverage Governments to design resources and expertise to create appropriate solutions. But what we haven’t gone to at this point, noting that there are exceptions and Laura has talked about one where there are industry offers where we see a need, is basically working to provide overarching financial uplift through AN-ACC and other sources, other grant opportunities, sector viability grants for example at this stage rather than targeting specific industry offerings in the aged care sector as opposed to the ADHA approach that Laura’s outlined for you today.

I’ll just see if Fay wanted to add anything to that.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Thea. Totally agree. And this is why we’ve been so open and transparent right from the onset so that we can design an interoperable data model, put it out there with the B2G work that we’re doing, knowing that we will create a set of open APIs and get that whole identity consent‑based ecosystem up and running. And then that’s where I think out in the sector magic can happen. Because I have had people approach saying consortiums of people are willing to come together and open source some stuff and so that’s where we can help the community come together and innovate together. So I would say watch this space a little bit more especially in the aged care space that is particularly. As we get B2G launched over the next couple of months and then we move to kind of create that community I think things will transition naturally in the ecosystem. So hopefully that answers your question.

Nick Morgan:

Can I just make one quick comment as a non-IT panellist. Just that certainly the Government’s establishing an Aged Care Taskforce and one of the things we expect that taskforce to be looking at is innovative approaches to the delivery of aged care. And certainly I am in setting up the Support at Home Program looking closely at where Josh and his team get to in sort of piloting quality indicators for in-home and things like that can sort of drive innovation in the market anyway once we can see what’s keeping people healthier and happier and able to stay home longer, seeing what the sector itself comes up with to drive that sort of quality improvement. I think that information will help drive that is my guess. I hope.

Janine Bennett:

Great. Thanks panel. Thanks Richard. We love a good question about innovation. Digital transformation isn’t going to happen without us willing to do things in new and different ways so always welcome an innovation question.

So it looks like Regan has actually dropped off the call but it’s a popular question so I’m going to take it on. And this one will go to Josh.

Q:        Will NQI – I’m guessing national quality indicators – data upload be supported using the Excel template or are each care providers required to manually handle this data to the GPMS?

Joshua Maldon:

Thanks Janine. So I’m pleased to say we will have a file upload available so people can put that information using an Excel template.

Janine Bennett:

Great. Nice quick answer. And we had a second question from Regan as well which I’ll put to Fay.

Q: Will APIs be supplied to interact with GPMS to facilitate benchmarking of internal datasets against industry trends and targets?

Have I got the right person there Fay?

Fay Flevaras:

Well I think conceptually if we talk about what our vision is we do have our current My Aged Care platform that does client and provider and then we’ve got GPMS which we’ll transition all provider interactions into that. And our new business to Government gateway is about putting open APIs out there and we’ll be working with the various policy areas to define which of those APIs we put out first. We’ve also asked our sector partner community which APIs they would like us to develop that would help eliminate double handling or administrative overhead. So I guess it would be a case of watch this space. Going back to what information are we allowed to share and which ones would give the sector insight into being able to innovate. And so that would be an ongoing discussion in that sense. But it is our intent to make the right information available to the sector through open APIs. Hopefully that’s kind of answered.

Janine Bennett:

Hopefully that answers Regan’s question. Okay. So we had Shalen set to come to stage next and I will just give a prewarning to Sally, Rosalie and Helen who we’ll invite to join us subsequently after Shalen. Okay. So if we could just turn audio on and video on Shalen. Hopefully we can get you on screen there.

Audience Member:


Janine Bennett:

Perfect. You look like you’re in a nice spot.

Audience Member:

Yeah. I thought I’d sit outside and get a bit of fresh air.

Janine Bennett:

Beautiful. All right. Feel free to ask the panel.

Audience Member:

Thank you for all the good work that you folks are doing. It’s a huge task. Always is, digital transformation. I just wanted to know if there will be any assistance provided by the Government to ensure that these IT systems currently used by aged care providers – we all use different systems and some of the systems are quite old. These systems will feed into your system so it all becomes an ecosystem and the quality of what we feed and how we feed it will be the source data for your reporting purposes. So I’m just wondering what assistance if any will be provided to ensure that the systems that we currently use is up to scratch please?

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Shalen. I might take that one to start with.

Janine Bennett:

Yeah. Sorry Fay. I think that one is you.

Fay Flevaras:

All good. All good. So I think this is why we stood up this digital transformation Tech Talk Series so that we can share early and often with a lot of the thinking. We also have our sector partner community that have volunteers. It’s there that we’ve got software industry and residential aged care providers, we’ve got Support at Home providers, a whole range of people in that sector partner community who are codesigning with us so that the sector can be ready. And so from our perspective assistance comes in many forms and I think we’re working very closely with a lot of the peak bodies and consultancy groups to make sure that we can at least not so much provide advice but help guide the sector collectively around where different software providers need to be at points in time.

So we’re not going in and recommending at this stage which software providers are ready to meet this demand because we’re still all formulating a lot of the policy and the design work. But as we mature we will start to give more information to the sector around which software providers would be ready for you guys to connect with us. There’s a whole conformance and interoperability program that we’re working through. So hopefully that gives you some advice. Thea’s already spoken to financial incentives in that sense and where our current position is. I’m not sure if anyone else wanted to add anything else there.

Laura Toyne:

Obviously Shalen I’ve outlined what the Agency’s doing and how we are working with vendors on the health side and the digital health enablement and the vendors we’re working with there. And whilst I won’t speak on behalf of the Department but there is also a grants process obviously around facilitating the adoption of the electronic national residential medication charts as well. And I know there’s some information on Health’s website in relation to that in the sort of health side of the space so you can look to those sorts of resources as well.

Audience Member:

Thank you very much.

Janine Bennett:

Thanks very much Shalen. Appreciate the question. Okay. We’ll go ahead and get Sally on stage if we can. And in the meantime I’ve got a question from Isabella that I’ll ask on her behalf.

Q: When will the MAC portal API be available for NOI and is there test data available now?

I think that might be one for you Fay.

Fay Flevaras:

I’ve noticed we’ve got Emma in the background as well with Thea. So Emma I might kind of invite a bit of a share here. Emma where’s our plans for B2G as a foundational capability? You might want to throw to that first and then I can talk to which APIs after that. Would you like to take that?

Emma Cook:

So I’ll cover it at a high level. So currently we’ve been working closely with sector partners and the sector more broadly to understand priorities and to understand their needs as we move to roll out the different components of B2G, and the first of which is expected around mid-year which is the developer portal. And from that point onwards we can start to understand or get registration of interest, understand which software vendors would like to be involved and explain to them what they’re going to need to do. Now from later on this year or by early next year we’ll be looking to rollout APIs. And again that will depend on what the priority areas are for the sector and we’ll look to launch an initial couple of APIs and then again continue that discussion with the sector, really be led by their needs and on a really firm I guess data strategy which the Department’s also building out to ensure that we work towards something where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and the APIs are feeding into that.

Fay Flevaras:

Excellent. That’s awesome Emma. And I think I’ll just add to that. We’re definitely trying to take a holistic approach to the API set. As Emma said we’ll start with a few but it’s about getting the 60% of data through open APIs so that we’re collecting information once and not doing it over many different APIs for duplicate reasons. Quality indicators which is I think part of your question, that’s one of the first ones we’ve actually started mapping the data for along with Josh and the team so that we can get those as one of the first APIs hopefully out there to help support the automation.

So I guess it’s watch this space over the next two to six months. There will be definitely some changes.

Janine Bennett:

Great. Thanks very much guys. Appreciate the clean handball there between our business and IT folks. Okay. Sally thank you so much for your patience. I’ll let you ask your question to the panel.

Audience Member:

Thank you. It was probably more of an observation than a question. I think I’m thinking of our clients we have and being in a country area as a provider I’m very mindful of the low level of digital literacy and online connectivity for our clients in particular. And I love the concept of innovation and technology and I can see the advantages. I’m just concerned that we’re forgetting there is still a chunk of the community who don’t have access, don’t have the skills and may be lost or forgotten in this transition with the uptake of technology. And I think that was obvious when things were rolled out for COVID and let’s do it all online, and yet there was this large chunk of the community that didn’t have access or capacity. So that’s more of I guess a commentary that I’d like to hear back from, that we aren’t forgetting about those who don’t have that access. A large chunk of our clients don’t even own mobile phones so it’s going to be quite difficult to have sort of online management of anything when you don’t even have online connectivity.

And if I could just ask a second question. I’m just mindful about the online platform. And there was a statement about where a client chooses to use an online platform case notes are shared by independent providers through the platform. How does that fit in with privacy for each organisation and the client?

Janine Bennett:

Great. Okay. So we’ve got two chunky questions there. The first one around digital literacy which is definitely front of mind for a number of initiatives across the program. I might throw that one open because I know that it’s being thought of across the board. Did someone want to jump in from the panel on the digital literacy question?

Fay Flevaras:

I might just give two sentences and then the panel can add. We’re definitely looking at our digital strategy. It’s not a digital only and so I want to make that very clear. So we are looking at our channel strategy that supports in there. And so we definitely have face to face and other mediums to make sure that we’re catering for the spectrum of the audience that we have. So although we kind of always talk about digital transformation it’s not digital only and it’s not digital first. It is about trying to make sure that we cater for everyone. So not sure if anyone wants to add to that in any way.

Thea Connolly:

Just to endorse that Fay we have a wonderful Council of Elders that provides advice to the Department and to Government and they’re very clear and consistent in their advice to us exactly along those lines. And that’s why we do so much outreach around making sure our call centre and other access is yes digital first, but also caters to non-digital natives. I did mention there is digital literacy in one particular measure to support the new Aged Care Act and I think Laura that’s sponsored by the Department and the Agency working together including through surveying workers. Appreciating that that’s a different question to the point that you’re making Sally around older people who are accessing care.

I might just quickly jump to your question around data and privacy because there was another question related to that and I might just take liberty Janine and segue into that. We really recognise the importance of balancing data ownership with transparency and confidentiality. Those three things are really, really tricky to balance. The new Aged Care Act is going to have to solve that issue in a way that when we look across the rest of the Commonwealth no one’s done it exactly right because the world always moves and technology moves. And so when we go out with our exposure draft on the new Aged Care Act that’s going to be a really big piece in that legislation. And we don’t have a perfect model to look at and that’s where we rely on outreach with people like the Council of Elders, with our providers, with our supports that we get through Fay’s Tech Talk platform and others to make sure we’re getting all of the perspectives so that we don’t just get locked into our little digital world and we can interact with the real world as well.

Fay Flevaras:

Yeah. And just to add to that data side, the second part, privacy and consent is a big part of when we’re building data platforms and so yes we will work alongside everyone when they’re developing the Act to identify which data is needed to be shared in order to make sure that we’re not doing harm when decisions are being made in the process of providing healthcare. Things like medications and things that people need to know otherwise they could make a decision with ill-informed information versus it’s a case note or something else which is not needed as part of and then how does that all get balanced out with consent and privacy. I don’t have a perfect answer for you in that sense but it’s definitely something that we continue to discuss and explore as a collective as we work through how do we move to our more connected ecosystem.

Laura Toyne:

And I can probably just add to that as well Fay. And I won’t labour the point here but you’ve got some really good questions Sally. So on the sort of privacy and consent front we’ve got fairly well honed models and legislation and regulation of course with respect to health information and health data shared through My Health Record. And you would have seen – or maybe you wouldn’t. Only maybe our Canberra folk – but the Minister for Health is certainly pushing towards a model that is more of a share by default. I think largely now what we hear is consumers expect that some of their health information is shared and that it is getting to the right place but what they probably don’t realise right now is that doesn’t quite happen because systems are not as interoperable as we would like. And so there is that move and intent towards sharing health information a little more readily to support better care outcomes and I think that’s great. And there’s a bit of a push there particularly in the health space around uploading information around pathology and diagnostic imaging test results for example into My Health Record so that that information is available.

The digital divide doesn’t go away as you’ve talked about. With My Health Record of course it’s not just a consumer that can access their record. There are good controls and authorised representatives such as carers that can access information on a resident’s behalf or an elderly patient’s behalf with those right authorisations and controls in place. And so that’s there as one way but not the only way in which that sort of digital world can be accessed if there are no mobile applications and so forth for the consumer.

If I can go to the final point which was your first point and which Thea’s already touched on. The agency will do some work later this year with the Institute of Digital Health around the development of a self-assessment tool for aged care providers. We will do a bit of a pilot there so that a provider themselves can look at the digital skills of their workforce and the capabilities of their own workforce and then determine how they can bridge that gap and uplift that sort of workforce skillset. Doesn’t always go to the consumer side. We certainly as I said in the health side – not that there is a divide between health and aged care but we’ve got a lot of e-learning modules and support and webinars and so forth for consumers, carers, health care professionals and others where it goes to health information and My Health Record in particular. So there are some resources out there plus some further work really looking at the capabilities on the workforce side over the next six months. We want to pilot that before we would look to have a broader rollout of that capability.

And just a shoutout. I think George Magellis is on the phone but we’re working with him to obviously look at that digital maturity of the sector as a whole as well just to understand where everyone’s capabilities are now. Again not necessarily at the consumer level there. More around the workforce and provider level. So I’ll leave it there. That’s plenty. Thanks Fay. Thanks Thea.

Janine Bennett:

Thanks all. Thanks very much Sally. Really good question. Obviously inspired a lot of media responses from the panel. Okay. So Rosalie we’ll go ahead and invite you to the stage. And just a couple of anonymous questions. One for Nick Morgan.

Q: Will there be a Support at Home service price ranges for weekend, evening and public holidays as the NDIS has?

Nick Morgan:

That’s certainly something that the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority is looking at and has been asked to look at. My expectation is yes but that’s probably pre‑empting their advice to Government. But it’s certainly something they’re looking at. Yep.

Janine Bennett:

Great. Okay. And Rosalie we’ll hand over to you. We’re running a little short on time so I’ll let you jump straight in. Thanks Nick.

Audience Member:

Thanks very much for that Janine. Probably since I first put up my questions and your responses there’s a hell of a lot to unpack in your responses. A lot of the things I was sort of asking, some of those would have been directed at Nick and I’m now trying to find my questions about with multiple providers does that mean we have one software that all providers can access? And you’ve spoken on the privacy issue. That sort of opens up Pandora’s box for me. And the other question I’m trying to find Nick. Here we go. Are you guys going to be working with the multiple software providers for CHSP providers? They’re telling me that they’re not having any discussions at the moment and that will take them at least a good 12 months to ensure that the software that they come up with is going to actually talk to your software for the unit pricing. So that’s a couple of things.

And in addition to that I concur 100% with what Sally was saying in as much as our clients are not digitally literate. Even some of them I wouldn’t even put in the semi-literate. And even though you mentioned that you’re going to have a hybrid arrangement if there are people who are there who are digitally savvy and they get online first they’re always going to pre-empt the person who’s doing the manual booking that can’t sort of catch up. So we are inadvertently going to leave them behind if we very quickly transform to a digital environment.

The other thing you sort of mentioned before, you were talking about – I think Shalen mentioned different systems and software. All of that’s going to cost dollars and then you’re saying there are resources out there to assist us. But all of these things come with funding requirements and most entities just don’t have the resources. I can’t speak for everybody but I know I don’t have a bottomless pit to actually be copping up the resources. I’m doing my damnedest to convince my organisation to remain in the business at the moment but every time I talk to a software developer the price goes up significantly. So there’s significant things to unpack here.

Janine Bennett:

Yes. Rosalie I might just jump in there because we’re running really short of time and I want to give at least someone on the panel a chance to speak to one of your items. Nick we might throw to you if we could. So you can pick which question you’d like to answer.

Nick Morgan:

Yeah. Sure. I think on the CHSP pricing question I can see that got a lot of votes so I might start there. So I think it’s a good one to ask given that CHSP providers would be moving from grant funding through to this sort of invoicing arrangement. We do have – and I guess the short answer to your question is yes we will be engaging. And the sort of thing I did today around what sort of information would you need to provide through your invoice is the sort of starting point for that.

One thing I would say is that CHSP, because we do already have the DEX reporting on individual service usage across different service types, does have a little bit of a sort of head start on having that individualised information in the system. So it’s already extracted one way or another. We did do some very preliminary discussions with some CHSP providers and home care package providers around whether to introduce a new payment platform which was on the cards at one stage and the feedback we got was it would be simpler to be able to extract out of our existing systems to submit invoices to Services Australia than go through introducing a whole new system.

So we will be coming out talking about that. We have an extra year now from what we thought we had which is helpful. But I guess today’s discussion around that sort of invoicing arrangement would be a starting point for those conversations to continue over the next few months.

Janine Bennett:

Great. Thanks Nick. And Rosalie sorry we weren’t able to get to more of your questions. We’ve just hit time now so I might have to call it for the Q&A. Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a question and also to our panellists. Really appreciate you being brave and being open to the discussion with the sector. So special thanks to Fay, Thea, Josh, Nick, Laura and Emma our late addition. Thanks Emma. Great of you to jump in.

All right. We hope to be back here in about six weeks to see you all for our next Tech Talk. In the meantime I’d like to make a personal request for all of our attendees to complete our post-event survey. You can use the QR code that’s on the slide. The survey is open now or we’ll also include a link in the post-event email. We genuinely review these results and we use your comments to iterate and hopefully improve over time. So we are genuinely asking for you to contribute.

Recordings as I’ve mentioned from this event will be published on the Digital Transformation area on the Health and Aged Care website in the next week or so. You can email us any suggestions for agenda items or add questions to your survey response. We’ll go ahead and make note of those for our future agendas.

I have just a very quick comment about the audio today. I know a number of attendees had some audio issues and some issues with the clarity of our slides. From the crackles I occasionally got online as I was listening in I think we might have been having some bandwidth issues. Thank you for your patience and for bearing with us. We know that these large online forums always come with a bit of technical risk so we appreciate you rolling with us.

And with that I’ll just quickly hand over to Fay Flevaras to close us out for the day.

Fay Flevaras:

Thanks Janine. And I’d like to thank everyone for coming. We really greatly appreciate your continued support and patronage. Digital transformations are hard and we won’t be successful unless we keep talking and working together and having the conversation. Hearing the feedback from everyone in the community about how things are working and what’s not working, it does absolutely assist us in making sure that we’re developing a new aged care ecosystem that meets everyone’s needs.

So thank you for coming and I look forward to seeing everyone next time. Bye for now.

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