Recording and transcript
[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Digital Transformation’, ‘Tech Talk’, ‘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’, ‘www.health.gov.au’, ‘Tech Talk #4’, ‘20220906’]
[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 a large background screen]
Hello all. Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us for this fourth 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 and I’m the Programs Engagement Lead and today’s event moderator.
I’d like to welcome everybody joining us today from your offices and homes across Australia and overseas. I’m joining you from Canberra, the lands of the Ngunnawal people and I would like to open our conversation today by acknowledging these and the many other traditional owners of the lands on which we all meet and to pay my deep respect to those cultural leaders past, present and emerging. I’d especially like to acknowledge the presence of any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders joining us today. It’s an honour to have you with us.
Soon I’ll hand over to Fay Flevaras who is the Assistant Secretary leading the digital transformation for aged care on behalf of the Department but first some quick housekeeping items. Please note that this webinar is being recorded. The recordings will be made available on the Health website as soon as our captioning is complete post-event. That usually takes us about a week or so. If you have any technical difficulties during our presentation today we recommend that you use the phone line to dial in. These details are available in your invite including a phone number and an access code that will get you straight back into the session.
As with our previous Tech Talks we’ve secured a block of time at the end of this event for Q&A. It’s really important to us that we keep conversing with the sector so please do feel free to raise your questions using the Slido app. If that’s not already showing for you it should be available on the bottom right hand of your Webex screen. You can select the Slido window or the panel and type in your question. Don’t forget to click submit on your question so it can workflow its way through to being a public question. If you have a question that you’ve seen on Slido and it’s something that you would also like to know about definitely feel free to vote it up. We will try and address the most popular questions first.
Now a quick warning. If you’ve joined us for Tech Talks in the past this will come as no surprise but we like to invite those people submitting questions into Slido to the stage so that they can ask their question in person. For this reason we really encourage you to put your name on your question. It allows us to introduce you to the panel and it makes for a better conversation for everybody watching. As the moderator I’m on strict instructions to give everyone some warning that we will be inviting them to the stage so that you can take a minute to prepare yourself before we invite you on.
As always noting we have such a large group we’ll get through as many questions as we can but anything that we don’t get to we’ll take on notice and try and provide you answers on our website, on the Health and Ageing website.
Okay. That’s it for housekeeping. I’ll see you all again during Q&A but for now I’ll hand you over to your event host Fay Flevaras. Fay.
Hello everyone. I’ll just wait for us to transition a little bit.
Thank you. So hi. Thank you and welcome to our next Tech Talk in our webinar series. Thank you. Our agenda’s up. I’ll just check with the team. We’ve already got our first question and it is is this session being recorded? And yes it is. So I’m hoping the team’s turned the recording on. As Janine just mentioned all these recordings do go up on to our Department of Health website.
So yes without further ado we’ll walk you through the agenda. We have another jam-packed agenda today and we’ve broken it up into kind of two main categories. Our immediate focus on what’s coming up in the short term and then some of our future focus topic areas. In our immediate focus area we’ve listened to you and we heard that you wanted some more information around AN-ACC and some of the changes that are happening. So we have Mark Richardson and Amanda Inglis from the Department of Health and Aged Care, and we also have Jacqui Houghton from Services Australia joining us to talk about the upcoming AN-ACC changes and all the fabulous work that’s been done there. I’ll also give you a bit of an update around some of our co-design activities that we’ve been doing with our sector partners just to give you a bit more of an understanding of some of the work we’ve completed to date.
Also following that we have Mel Metz from the Department of Health and Aged Care talking about aged care legislation amendments that are coming down the pipeline. We also have Jason Fraser outlining the work to drive an aged care digital strategy. And as always promised we’d like to make sure we provide a one Government view so we also have an update from Herbert Down from the Australian Digital Health Agency with the interoperability standards and their approach there. Of course followed by Q&A so keep the questions rolling in. And we will be answering some of the questions as the sessions go through so don’t need to wait until the end. We’ll pick them up as we come along.
So let’s move on and let me introduce you to Mark Richardson who’s going to introduce us – sorry. No. We’re not there. One more thing. Digital transformation update. I just wanted to give you guys a little bit of a view of what’s happening there. Last Tech Talk I did present to you guys a portfolio view of lots of the changes that are coming down the pipeline. So for those that attended the last time or who watched the video this is now the kind of updated release view. We’ve been very busy. It’s still draft because dates keep moving and certain dates are to be communicated in certain different ways. But we are maturing our portfolio planning and release management and I just wanted to keep bringing this forward so that we can give you early warning around things as much as possible.
We keep our priorities front of mind and we try to make them more human-centred. So as we look at this we kind of keep trying to mature to say well what does this mean from a release perspective for our different persona groups. So what does it mean for consumers, what does it mean for providers and what does it mean to Government persona groups? So hopefully next Tech Talk you’ll see a different lens to this which will actually show some of the combined impacts to the different persona groups. So we’ll keep maturing that and keep communicating. We want to also be able to identify those interdependencies across a very complex program of change and thus highlighting the collective change to those persona groups as well.
So I think it’s really important that we move away from individual projects or individual policy pieces and putting it into what does it mean for you guys at different points in time as we move forward. We also want to stay connected with you guys in the sector and so keeping the conversation going and being open and transparent as much as possible, communicating early and making sure that you guys have an opportunity to ask questions on what interests you.
So we know that what I’m showing you here is likely to shift because decisions and priorities keep evolving. But from an ICT perspective we want to understand the current plan and show you what we know today. One of the big deliverables that you’ll see – so the last time I showed you this those first four ticks were not there. Five ticks actually. So we’ve been very busy in the last six weeks delivering some very good things and what’s coming up, one of those deliverables, is AN-ACC. So we’re going to give you an update on that up next actually. So without further ado Mark I think you’re joining us. Can I have you up on stage and you’ll talk to us a bit about the business context and what we’re doing there, and I think then we’ve got Amanda with you who’s talking about what it means for digital and also Jacqui who’s got the sector ready with Services Australia and what they’ve been doing. So Mark over to you.
[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Immediate focus: AN-ACC’, ‘Mark Richardson & Amanda Inglis’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Group, Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Jacqui Houghton’, ‘Services Australia’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘www.health.gov.au’]
Great. Thanks Fay. Look before I start the presentation I would also like to acknowledge the traditional owners across the lands on which we are meeting. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and future and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with us today.
As Fay mentioned today I’ll provide you with a brief understanding of the Australian National Aged Care Classification or AN-ACC and an explanation of care minutes which is a separate policy to AN-ACC.
So look at the top left hand side of the slide – I’ll take you through all the different components on this slide but on the top left hand side we have the elements that make up AN-ACC funding. The key point here is that AN-ACC funding will roll together the existing basic subsidy that is ACFI funding, the amount currently provided through the basic daily fee supplement, the homeless supplement and the viability supplement and the additional funding for care minutes that commences from the 1st of October 2022. So effectively AN-ACC is a bigger funding pie compared to ACFI. I should also say that supplements such as oxygen, Veterans and accommodation supplements will continue and are not rolled into AN-ACC.
So moving to the top right hand side we have independent assessments. To prepare for the transition to the new funding model independent assessors are conducting what we refer to as shadow assessments with all aged care residents to determine the AN-ACC classification that reflects a resident’s care requirements. The outcomes of the assessments will determine the variable component of AN-ACC funding which I’ll go through very shortly.
So there are six independent assessment management organisations with over 300 assessors located around Australia to conduct the assessments. So far we’ve completed about 94% of all active residents, that is completed assessments for those people. I should say that COVID-19 continues to cause major difficulties with access to facilities and it has slowed our progress. However we believe based on current progress that we’ll be able to complete the majority of assessments by the 1st of October 2022.
In relation to those assessments you can request a reclassification of a resident if a resident’s needs have changed significantly and you can do that through the My Aged Care service provider portal for those as I said with an existing classification.
So moving to the AN-ACC funding components on the bottom left hand side of the slide. The key point here is that AN-ACC will provide a more equitable funding outcome particularly for facilities in remote and very remote areas as well as those facilities with a focus on providing aged care to the homeless by better matching resident funding with the costs of delivering care.
The AN-ACC funding model has three components. First a fixed component or base care tariff reflecting the characteristics of a facility such as location and any specialisation including homelessness or remote Indigenous. This fixed component is not recognised in ACFI and it allows for a more equitable distribution of funding as I mentioned earlier.
Second a variable component or AN-ACC classification reflecting a case mix classification of all residents through an AN-ACC assessment, and finally a one off adjustment component to cover the extra costs associated with transitioning a resident into a facility.
The base care tariffs and the AN-ACC variable funding each represent around 50% of the funding with the one off adjustment component representing a relatively small proportion of funding.
So based on the AN-ACC starting price of $216.80 we have undertaken some sector analysis on AN-ACC funding compared to ACFI. At a high level one of the key findings is that average funding per bed day in 21/22 is expected to be approximately $225 under AN-ACC compared to an estimated average funding per bed day under ACFI including the viability and homeless supplements of approximately $192.
So in regards to independent pricing from July 2023 the AN-ACC price will be indexed based on advice from the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority. The Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority will also look at the AN-ACC model itself. That is the base care tariffs and the AN-ACC classifications and over time make recommendations to update these. In effect unlike other residential aged care funding models such as ACFI this means there is an in‑built improvement process.
So lastly in relation to care minutes there’s a $5.4 billion funding boost over four years from 22/23 which will be provided to the sector to increase staffing levels to meet the new care minute requirements. This additional funding will be distributed through AN-ACC to ensure that there is a connection between funding and the quarterly care minute requirements. Once again it is important to note that care minutes is a separate policy to AN-ACC. AN-ACC is simply the funding mechanism by which to distribute the care minutes funding.
The care minute requirements will become mandatory from the 1st of October 2023 in recognition that it may take some time for providers to attract and retain sufficient staff to be able to achieve the care minute requirements.
Consistent with the Royal Commission recommendations the initial care minute requirements will be set at an average of 200 minutes per resident per day including an average of 40 minutes of registered nurse time per day and based on care provided by registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers. Only the worked hours of registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care worker staff will count towards care minutes with this excluding staff leave and training.
It is important to note that the 200 minute and 40 minute requirement are an average target across the sector that will be determined and assessed on a quarterly basis at the facility level based on the average total resident case mix for each facility and not for each resident at a facility. In practice this means that both the funding and care minute requirements will vary between individual facilities and change over time as the resident profile changes. Higher resident care needs will result in higher level of funding being provided to a facility for them to meet higher care minute requirements.
So once again facilities can now access their quarterly care minute targets on the My Aged Care service provider portal. And look lastly in relation to care minutes I should point out that I guess progress against those targets will be collected or measured through the Quarterly Financial Report. The first one of those is due on the 4th of November. They can be submitted from the 1st of October onwards. But given that that’s how we’ll be measuring progress against those targets I encourage everyone to really focus on getting the information in those reports correct.
So look moving to the next slide if we can and pretty much the last slide, this is just effectively – I just wanted to say here we’ll talk about some of the things that are coming up and where you can get access to some more information but the key point is that all the information that I’ve talked about today and in fact a lot more detail can be found on our web pages. There’s a whole bunch of fact sheets covering various AN-ACC and care minute topics. We also have a specialised helpdesk to help you understand and estimate funding. And I should also say for those of you who are in remote or very remote parts of the country and Indigenous and homeless services we have been making outbound calls to providers to help you understand the new funding model.
But look just very quickly the last couple of things I want to mention before closing up that will be occurring over the next month or so. First I’d encourage you all to once again keep an eye on our website. We’re always updating our fact sheets and our FAQs based on the feedback that we get from the sector. So I’d encourage you to keep an eye on that. Second we intend on developing an AN-ACC user guide. We had one for ACFI some time ago but we’re reinvigorating one under AN-ACC. That will contain all the information that you need to know about AN-ACC in one place. That will be available later on this month as well.
Third we intend on publishing some online tutorials this month. Effectively they will be how to undertake some of the new functions in the My Aged Care service provider portal. So rather than just having user guides to read through we’ll have some demonstrations on how those things work as I said through some online tutorials or videos. And lastly I should say that if you’re aware we recently did an AN-ACC readiness assessment with the sector. It closed last Friday. We had 800 responses which we’re pretty happy about. But in the next month we’ll be targeting facilities that have indicated in their readiness assessments that they require further assistance. So we’ll be reaching out and trying to help people get over the line for the 1st of October.
So look that’s it. That’s all I wanted to say. Hopefully that’s a brief update on AN-ACC and care minutes for you.
[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Connect’, ‘Watch: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/webinars’, ‘Subscribe: http://www.health.gov.au/aged-care-newsletter-subscribe’, ‘Engage: http://www.agedcareengagement.health.gov.au’, ‘Read: http://www.health.gov.au/aged-care-funding-reforms’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care’, ‘Aged Care Funding Reforms’, ‘agedcareengagement.health.gov.au’, ‘Phone 1800 200 422 (My Aged Care’s free call phone line)’]
Over to you Amanda.
Thanks Fay. So if we jump across to the next slide which I think we have.
Excellent. So while AN-ACC officially goes live this year the functionality that we are putting out there for everyone to use has been iteratively designed and delivered through our My Aged Care system since 2018 and it’s supported the shadow assessment activities that Mark has talked about as well. So with our final release on the 3rd of October the users of our My Aged Care provider and assessor portals will see a number of changes to the display of information. So that’s going to include changes to how our respite care is recommended for assessors and the ability to view and request reconsiderations and reassessments of clients’ care needs.
So overall the full suite of AN-ACC changes will deliver a more seamless and integrated experience for providers in communicating claims and client information between the Department of Health and Aged Care and Services Australia. The classification information will also be visible to clients and their representatives via the online services portal better informing clients about their care. And more detailed information about these specific changes will be made available from the links that Mark has shared as a part of his presentation. So I won’t go through all of those but there’s certainly plenty of information that’s coming up there.
The other thing I wanted to talk about today is how we got here. So something that Fay’s talked about in previous sessions and this morning is about the codesign approach that we’re taking to implementing the Aged Care Transformation Program. So this is something that we’ve also incorporated into our delivery of AN-ACC. So in particular the AN-ACC assessor app has been through a number of iterations. So it started out in 2018 as a paper form that we developed in partnership with the University of Wollongong. So since then the Department has conducted a number of usability studies seeking the feedback of real users and that feedback has been captured in real world scenarios. So by trialling that app the feedback has been incorporated, updates made and then the updates then made available to the assessors to test out and continue to provide that feedback, making sure that we’re driving a continuous cycle of improvement driven by that user experience and ensuring that we’ve got those assessment outcomes correct.
So there’s been a number of improvements along the way. So these have included things like improvements to the way the information is displayed as well as adjustments to the readability of the information to make sure that what is there on the screen is really clearly and easily understood, some improved screen design to reduce the cognitive load on users and make sure the screens aren’t too busy and overwhelming, dynamic validation for assessment answers. So this provides real time feedback on errors. Because in reality we all accidentally tick the wrong box or do a typo from time to time so by having that in place that really ensures that we’re getting that good quality of information and the good quality of assessment outcomes that are really quite critical for the program as well.
In addition we’ve got the full integration of the app with all of our My Aged Care systems. So we’ve got that consistent information across all of the systems. And then the latest version of the app you’ll see roll out alongside the program overall and go live over the October weekend. So continuing to provide that feedback and those enhancements. So certainly if there is any feedback once it does go live please use the feedback channels and provide us with that so we can continue making improvements into the future.
I’ll hand over now to Jacqui who will talk us through the AN-ACC preparations that Services Australia have been delivering.
[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Services Australia’, ‘Preparing the Sector for AN-ACC’, ‘Jacqui Houghton’, ‘New Residential Aged Care Payment System’, ‘Runway to AN-ACC – 1 October 2022’, ‘Support for the Sector’, ‘Status update on Sector Readiness’, ‘How do software vendors contact us?’, ‘OTS Software Vendor Technical Support’, ‘1300 550 115’, ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’]
Great. Thank you Amanda, thanks Mark and thank you to Fay for inviting Services Australia along. Really happy to be here and good afternoon everyone. We’ve been working very closely with Mark and Amanda and their teams on implementing AN-ACC and we were all really pleased to see the legislation pass in the first sitting period of the new Government earlier this year.
So Services Australia has been approaching AN-ACC in two phases if you like. The first and really important milestone was the implementation of a new aged care payment system. So we delivered a new payment system on the 20th of August which providers who are on this webinar would be very aware of. We’ve taken a very steady and methodical approach. It’s a big deal for us to replace a payment system and so we’ve been really pleased with the results that we’re getting through that. The system is up and connected and functioning well. We had a really successful soft launch week before we went to fully live and we actually went out and sat with providers and processed claims and entered claims through the system and tracked them all the way through just to make sure that the system was working as intended.
And of course this system really underpins the new funding model for 1 October and puts us in a really solid position in terms of future proofing how Services Australia can respond to future reform or policy in aged care payments. So that has been a significant milestone we’ve been working with the Department on.
We’ll continue to build on that capability. We’ve still got a little way to go with that but it’s moving really well. So now we’re into phase two and this is obviously where we now implement the new legislation for 1 October. And we’re really starting to focus on readiness in the sector and how we prepare particularly software developers for the 1 October changes. To that end we’ve set up a small team that reports to me to really focus and have a targeted approach with the sector to make sure that software developers feel comfortable they can achieve what they need to achieve by 1 October.
To that end we’ve set up weekly question and answer forums so developers can come and I’m sure some of you on the line have been in those. We’ve also started to do targeted outbound calls to particularly software developers where we can see they’re in the system and they’ve started the process but we just want to make sure they’ve got all the steps in place or see if there’s any other support they need to get there in time. And we’re also working with peaks and providers and trying to have as many conversations and communications as we can through our normal channels about the preparation for 1 October. I’d encourage software developers to talk to their providers and vice versa and make sure those communication lines are open.
But we’ve got pretty good visibility of how the sector’s going and what coverage they have across aged care providers. We’ve currently got 13 aged care software developers. Of those four are through integration with us, fully tested and are ready to go. That’s great. We’ve got four in integration testing which is also good. They’re very close to receiving their notice of integration. And we’ve got about five in preliminary testing. So they’re the ones we’re really concentrating on and working with to make sure they get there.
Just some context setting too I suppose for people or developers who may be concerned about that 1 October deadline. I did just want to point out that you will still be able to transact with us after 1 October. Your APIs will still work. There will be some functionality that won’t be there if you’re not done but I don’t want people to think this is a hard deadline that your system won’t work if you’re not there. We’ll work really closely with you to make sure you are. And I’d also make the point too that the first AN-ACC claim won’t happen until the 1st of November in essence. So we do have that arrears payment situation. So that time was sort of built in so software developers had time to transition and train providers and things like that. But there is a bit of time there as well. We’ve currently got about 30 to 40 percent of providers transacting with us via B2G so it’s important to know too there is that alternative payment option or claim option of the provider portal.
Look all in all that’s all I really wanted to say. There’s a few contact details on the screen. We’re pretty comfortable where we’re at but please if you need any support reach out and we’ll be in contact and happy to help you between now and 1 October. So thanks Fay.
Thanks Jacqui. And so thank you Mark, Amanda and Jacqui. Now as you can see AN-ACC is a large piece of work that’s been worked on for some time now and that work has required strong cross-Government collaboration. So I’d like to thank Services Australia in working with us. As Mark and Amanda and Jacqui have pointed out this was an initiative that has iterated and incorporated feedback from the sector throughout their journey in delivering this change. I encourage you to guys to post your questions. If you don’t want to come up on centre stage just say no stage. That’s all good. But we’ll have Jacqui, Mark and Amanda with us for a little bit longer but then they’ll have to leave. So if you’ve got any questions related to AN-ACC or the journey that was used to get here please let us know now.
Also if you want to ask the question all the questions we have, if we don’t get them answered here, we do kind of take them away and get them answered and put them up on the Tech Talk site as well. So if the team’s not available to ask it later in the Q&A we will make sure that you get your answer.
So I might do a bit of a Slido check just to see if there’s any questions. I’ll just ask Janine do we have anything?
So we’ve got a couple of generic questions. One if the sessions are being recorded. They are. They’ll be available on the Health website on the Digital Transformation page. And then we have one other question which is:
Q: Will we be getting the PowerPoint copy or a summary?
The answer to that one is yes as well. We take a copy of the full deck and we publish that in pdf format on the same site. So that’s Digital Transformation for the Aged Care Sector and that will be available on the Health website.
Lovely. Thank you.
That’s all the questions we have for now.
[Visual slide with text saying ‘Digital Transformation Sector Partners’, ‘Co-Design Update’, ‘Fay Flevaras’, ‘First Assistant Secretary, Digital Transformation and Delivery Division, Corporate Group’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘www.health.gov.au’]
Great. Well we’ll thank Amanda and Mark and Jacqui for the presentation. We really appreciate it. And we might move on to one of our other upcoming activities which is the co-design work that we’ve been working with the sector.
So some of you may not know the actual philosophy around our tech talks and how we’ve come about and essentially it’s one part of a three part kind of idea which is we’ve got the Tech Talks and they happen every six weeks and in between that six weeks we have three sprints with our sector partners. And they are volunteers, companies from across the sector, and they could be consultancy groups, it could be the peak bodies, it could be residential aged care facilities or software providers just across the group and they work with us on whatever topic we have at hand. And so I just wanted to walk you through some of the work we’ve been doing.
So if I could just move to the next slide then I’ll show you in order to do this work we’ve tried to use industry standard methodology starting with design thinking to make sure that we’re exploring the problem with you in conjunction to the policy work that we’re doing. So making sure that when we go to build the how that we’re making sure we understand the challenges that we’ve been trying to solve and the requirements of the end user in the sector.
Once we’ve understood that discovery piece then we move into a lean build which is we think we know what the right solution is and so we build the right thing to test it and if it’s not correct we iterate and learn from it. And then we’ll move into an agile build which is once we’ve worked out the right thing to build then we want to make sure that we build it right, so industrialise and scale.
Also when we’re doing these solutions we also think about what digital state are we aiming for. So you would have heard in Amanda’s AN-ACC journey they started off with a manual paper‑based form. And if anyone’s been to our Tech Talks before we talked about a four layer digital maturity being manual, systemised and then level three is digitises and now automated. So we try and get to the digitised and automated when we’re doing a lot of our solutions but it’s very valid sometimes to do that face to face as we’re doing that design thinking and lean experimentation.
So which of the initiatives have now completed through this co-design activity? There was the business to government gateway that we’re currently building through but the one that has completed and I wanted to play back to you here was our government provider management system. So it successfully has gone through the digitised focus where we did a UX workshop with the sector partners. We mobilised this project in early January and built a prototype essentially up until June and then through the months of sort of June, July, August we did a series of sprints through with the sector. And I’ll walk you through some of the outcomes of those workshops but as you can see now we’re now into the building the thing right and then we’ll come back later on in a couple of months to the sector partners that contributed to that to be part of our UAT process.
So this is just giving you a bit of an idea of the new way we’re trying to co-design and build with the sector in a more iterative fashion. So there’s a couple of benefits to that. One I think we get better outcomes from a solution perspective as we’re all working it out together. Two I think there’s less of a big bang change and it gives everyone the opportunity to do some more incremental change and embed it as we go along.
Moving to the next slide. How did we do this? We did the three sprints as I spoke to you about. We had a range of co-design partners. So we had sort of your large, medium, small. We had from rural and residential, all sorts. We used different attributes to make sure that we had quite a spectrum of partners, that we got a broad amount of feedback and it wasn’t sort of biased in any specific way.
Overall we did 16 co-design sessions with the sector partners and some of the results we got – moving on to the next slide – was some of the things that they liked about the new system that we had built so far in the prototype, that it was robust, integrated, quality assurance process. Because they could see themselves, where they were up to in the process. They really liked that some of the activities were fine grained and they had navigation options. They could see their own details. Some of the feedback we got was sometimes they didn’t even know what their own details were in the system. There was simple, easy, online editing. The system has been built to be fully WICAG compliant. We make sure that we’re thinking about all that usability and inclusiveness right from the beginning. They liked that they could submit separate sections and they could see the whole thing in one go so they knew that maybe they would have to save and come back because they knew they weren’t going to have enough time to finish it all.
So that’s just some of the things that they liked. We also got some good suggestions back and so these are things that we’re putting on the backlog. Suggestions around improvements, around it’s not a one size fits all. So could we augment the screens to match the provider’s size and scale depending on what questions that were relevant to them? Was there a way that they could upload more comprehensive documents or given some more how to instructional advice along the way as they’re filling it in especially for those culturally and linguistically diverse applicants?
So you can see there’s quite a lot there and this is all feeding a new design system for us to make sure that as we build new screens or new systems or new solutions that all the feedback that we’ve received to date will also apply to future enhancements as well. So lots of good suggestions. If anyone has any thoughts or wants to have a view of it please let us know.
So next up we have Mel Metz and she’s here to talk to us around the recent legislation and amendments. Mel over to you.
Is she there?
[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Aged Care Legislation Amendments’, ‘Mel Metz’, ‘Assistant Secretary, Quality and Assurance Division’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Group, Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘www.health.gov.au’]
I am here. There I am.
Welcome. Thank you.
Thanks Fay. So my name’s Mel Metz and I’m the Assistant Secretary of the Legislative Reform Branch at the Department of Health and Aged Care. So I assume you don’t get legislation presentations very often in your Tech Talks so hopefully I’m a bit of a novelty for you. I thought today I would talk through the two Bills that the Government introduced on the 27th of July.
So if you just go to the next slide. The first Bill that I’ll talk to you about is actually still before the House of Representatives and actually we’re hoping that it will be debated tomorrow. And this Bill covers three election commitments. It’s not a very substantial Bill in terms of length but there’s some pretty significant changes in this piece of legislation.
So the first schedule of the Bill covers off on something that you may have heard about which is the new requirement for residential aged care facilities to have a registered nurse on site 24 hours a day seven days a week. So the Bill sets up that obligation and it also allows subordinate legislation to set up an exemption framework for providers that won’t be able to meet the requirement on the 1st of July next year when it commences. It also allows the subordinate legislation to extend this obligation to certain other types of aged care providers particularly multipurpose services who are in a slightly different position than residential aged care providers in that they’re usually attached to hospitals or health centres and also run by the states. So we need to talk to the states about how the obligation will apply in those facilities.
The second schedule of the Bill relates to capping home care charges and particularly administration and management charges. So the Bill sets the framework to be able to do that in subordinate legislation. The second thing that this schedule of the Bill does is it removes the ability for providers to charge exit amounts when people leave their service.
Schedule 3 of the Bill is a new transparency provision and what it allows, or it actually requires the Secretary to publish certain information about aged care providers and their services. And we’ll list exactly what that information is in the information principles but what we’re anticipating it’s going to cover off on is how much providers spend on care, nursing, food, maintenance, cleaning, administration and profits. And we’re going to draw that information from existing reporting that is provided to the Department. What the Bill allows us to do is to take that information and present it publicly in a way that’s really useful for people. So we’re at the moment talking to people about how we would present that information in a way that’s meaningful to them.
So that’s the Implementing Care Reform Bill. It’s still got a way to go through the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate Committee did an inquiry into this Bill and reported last week. There’s general support for the measures in the Bill. There is some concern around how much detail is included in the subordinate legislation which is not unusual but we’re continuing to consult on exactly what the detail around each of these measures will be and we’re hoping to release exposure drafts of the legislation as it’s prepared. Next slide please.
So this is the other piece of legislation that was introduced on the 27th of July. This is the Aged Care and Other Legislation Royal Commission Response Bill which is now an Act. This was a very significant piece of legislation, around 150 pages in the end, and a number of really important measures that respond to recommendations of the Royal Commission. This Bill passed through the House of Representatives very quickly and through the Senate very quickly, passed on the 2nd of August and received Royal ascent on the 5th. So it’s now an Act and some of the schedules of the Bill have already commenced, some have more staged commencements and will commence later in the year.
So the first schedule of this Bill relates to AN-ACC and you’ve already heard about AN-ACC today. The legislative side of this was really just linking the classifications which had been done since 2021 to the funding. So it was that kind of turn on within the legislation to allow AN-ACC to commence on the 1st of October.
The second schedule of the Bill relates to star ratings which is due to commence in December this year and it will provide star ratings for aged care providers to give consumers information about different things. So this star ratings part of the Bill actually just allows the Secretary to use information that’s reported to the Department and present it in the form of star ratings. It also provides coverage so that when the Department reports that information there’s no cause of action against the Commonwealth. It’s really important that we’re able to report star ratings information and it is something that if a provider gets a star rating that’s a low star rating they’ll need to be able to explain why it is that they’ve received that rating and work to improve it over time.
Schedule 3 relates to a new sector wide Code of Conduct and also introduces banning orders for workers. So there’s no current Code of Conduct that applies to all workers and providers in the aged care sector. This will very much mirror the Code of Conduct that’s currently in force in the NDIS. Banning orders was also a recommendation of the Royal Commission. There are already ways that providers who do the wrong thing can be removed from the sector so the banning orders don’t apply to providers but they do apply to workers who do the wrong thing. And that mirrors the NDIS as well.
Schedule 4 relates to extension of incident management and reporting. So the Serious Incident Response Scheme is already operating in residential aged care. This will extend that Serious Incident Response Scheme into home and community settings.
Schedule 5 of the Bill relates to governance of approved providers and there are several Royal Commission recommendations around improving provider governance. There are a few things that this schedule does. It creates some requirements around the make up of governing bodies. So there’s a new requirement that the majority of members are independent and that there’s someone with clinical expertise on a governing body. There’s also a requirement to set up a couple of advisory committees. So one is a clinical advisory committee. The other one is a consumer advisory committee. That’s not a requirement but it does need to be offered to people, that they can set up a consumer advisory committee to a governing body.
There’s also new requirements or a new suitability test for key personnel and some new reporting requirements as well that will come in under Schedule 5.
Schedule 6 relates to enhanced information sharing between regulators in like sectors. So it will allow the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to share information very easily with the NDIS Quality and Safety Commission and also with the Department of Veterans Affairs. At the moment there are some barriers. Information can be shared. It’s not super straightforward and what this does is really smooths the way. There were similar amendments made to NDIS legislation last year which deals with it from the NDIS perspective. And really the intention of that information sharing is to ensure the safety of consumers. So if we have something that occurs in one sector with a particular worker or a particular provider that information can very quickly be shared with other regulators to make sure if there are people working in both sectors or operating in both sectors that that can be managed.
Schedule 7 relates to increased financial and prudential oversight. This is part of a much broader program of work around improving financial and prudential oversight of the sector. There are a couple of minor changes that the Bill makes which relate to an ability for the Secretary to obtain information where residential accommodation deposits and bonds are used in respect of loans. And the other change is that previously where residential accommodation deposits and bonds were misused there was a two year period within which action could be taken. That’s now been extended out to five years.
Schedule 8 of the Bill has already commenced. So this gave what was the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority some additional aged care pricing and costing functions. It’s renamed that body to the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority. And Schedule 9 of the Bill relates to restrictive practices and consent arrangements. So stronger restrictive practices rules came into effect in the middle of last year. What we found once those stronger requirements came in is that state and territory laws don’t necessarily provide for who should consent to the use of restrictive practices where a care recipient is unable to consent to it themselves. So what this Schedule of the Bill does is effectively fixes that gap in state and territory law until states and territories can amend their laws to deal with consent arrangements. And there’s subordinate legislation attached to this. There’s an exposure draft available on the Department’s website of that legislation at the moment and it effectively provides a hierarchy of who is able to consent to restrictive practices when a person doesn’t have capacity themselves.
So that’s a really quick tour of the couple of Bills that we’ve been working on this year and hopefully we will see passage of the Implementing Care Reform Bill ahead of the last sitting week which is actually when the first of the Schedules is meant to commence. So we’re working pretty hard to try and get this through Parliament at the moment. Thanks very much.
Thanks Mel. And so if anyone’s got any questions around the legislation feel free to put it in. It’s a huge amount of change and I know that we within the Department are working closely with you and our business stakeholders to look at a lot of those recs at the moment. And so in our co‑design sector partners I know that some of those topics around quarterly financial reporting and star ratings and others are currently in co-design sessions. So as the legislation is passing we are also trying to co-create with our community. And so I think it’s really important to show how policy, business, other Government areas, we all come together and how it all works end to end within the sector. So we really thank you for joining us in a Digital Tech Talk to talk legislation. So thank you.
Okay. So we’ve covered immediate with AN-ACC and we’ve talked a little bit about some of our co-design sessions. We’ve talked legislation. And actually because we’ve got a broad palette of topics for you today we now have Jason Fraser who’s going to talk strategy.
Over to you Jason.
[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Approach to the Aged Care Digital Strategy’, ‘Jason Fraser’, ‘Assistant Secretary’, ‘Reform Implementation Division’, ‘Ageing and Aged Care Group’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘www.health.gov.au’]
Thanks Fay. Hi everyone. I’m the Assistant Secretary in the ICT Strategy and Business Assurance Branch in the Department.
As you can see on the screen we’re currently developing an aged care digital strategy which is called Digital Age. We really appreciate you joining us today. So I’ll make a short presentation to give you an overview of the work we’re doing on the aged care digital strategy but what we’re really seeking is your questions about the strategy and also to give you some channels for engaging with the work that we’re doing.
So the Department has begun the process to develop an aged care digital strategy and this really stems from recommendation 109 of the Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety which outlined the need for a strategy to guide developments in information and communication technologies.
As a result the objective of the aged care digital strategy we’re developing is to provide the aged care sector with a clear and purposeful vision of how digital will shape the aged care system from now until 2030.
So this presentation represents the beginning of our consultation process and we’ll shortly be extending our consultations to our partners – that’s each of you – over the coming weeks.
So why are we doing this now? What’s the purpose of an aged care digital strategy? So consistent with the Royal Commission findings we believe that the use of digital technology in aged care creates lots of opportunities. The key opportunity that digital represents is the improvement in services and importantly the quality of those services provided to older Australians.
As a result the central vision of this strategy is that digitalisation should be used as a tool to guide personal experience in a positive way so people choose digital and can see the benefits of doing so.
So the primary objective of this strategy is to ensure that the needs of older Australians are paramount and more specifically that older Australians are well supported and that they’re provided with consistent and equitable access to information and services that they need when they need them.
However it’s important that we also recognise the needs and objectives of all our partners in the aged care system specifically aged care workers and carers, aged care providers, ICT vendors and Government agencies and departments.
The strategy considers each partner individually and it will incorporate principles and enabling conditions to plan and develop supporting roadmaps and blueprints to guide our progress to achieving the 2030 vision for digital in aged care.
So what is the strategy aiming for? So the strategy provides five principles to help guide our decisions, initiatives and investments. Number one. The use of digital technologies should improve service reliability and trust. Number two. The focus on older Australians being at the centre of this work, well supported and with consistent, equitable access to information and the services they need when they need them, and new technology improves operations with more time for workers and carers to deliver quality and meaningful services to older Australians, that digital transformation supports quality care and an individual’s wellbeing. And number five, that there is an open, competitive marketplace designed in partnership to support digital solutions that meet the needs of all partners in the sector.
So we think there are some pretty significant benefits of investing in digital.
Number one, that Government services become more people-centred. Number two, older Australians have their rights recognised, protected and upheld. Number three, that providers of services are more efficient and effective in delivering their services. Number four, that workers are empowered and supported with technology to deliver quality services. And that really means that they have more time to devote to care and less time spent on administrative tasks. And number five, that vendors are working to common protocols and standards and partnering with us to actively support interoperability and integration of services.
So in terms of next steps, as I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation we’re currently planning the schedule for consultation more broadly with a range of stakeholders including other Government agencies, peak bodies, older Australians, carers and families. We’re really seeking your feedback, advice and perspectives through this process. Once we have completed consultation we’ll be seeking to deliver and finalise the strategy. Once we finalise the strategy and we’ve published it the next step will be to develop an enabling framework which will identify clear actions and objectives that will need to be implemented to achieve the vision of the aged care digital strategy.
And as you can see from that diagram up on screen it’s going to be a long journey and we do intend that over time we will be adjusting our plans and blueprints to match the current situation that we face.
So in terms of the questions that we’re really seeking your views on today, number one, what you consider to be the most significant barriers and success factors for a digital strategy, and number two, what outcomes you think are the most important to a digital strategy. Now I have put up there an email inbox for our team that is working on developing the digital strategy. We would really love to hear from you your perspectives, any ideas that you have. If you would like to be consulted on the strategy we’re really keen to hear from you. We’ll be conducting some further consultation over the next little while. But I just wanted to say thanks so much for your time today and I’m really looking forward to taking any questions that you might have. So thanks Fay.
Thank you Jason. That was awesome. So look if anyone has any comments or questions that they want to ask Jason will be sticking around for our Q&A a little bit later. And it’s great to see that you guys are moving forward in trying to establish our north star whilst we’re building all of the legislation and all of the current pipeline work that we’re doing. So looking forward to working with you guys and contributing.
Okay. Up next our final presentation for today. And as we have committed to these Digital Tech Talks we always want to keep business front of mind. So we’ve talked legislation and AN-ACC. We also want to make sure that we present to you as one Government so we always ask some of our Government partners to come in. So we had Services Australia earlier for AN-ACC and now we’ve got Herbert Down from the Australian Digital Health Agency come to speak to us about their update around their interoperability plan. So Herbert over to you.
[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Connection Australian Health Care:’, ‘National Healthcare Interoperability Plan’, ‘Herbert Down’, ‘Branch Manager’, ‘Clinical and Digital Health Standards Governance’, ‘Australian Digital Health Agency’, ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘www.health.gov.au’]
Thanks Fay. I don’t think I’m going to have time to deliver my 45 minute presentation but I’ve got a hard set of acts to follow. Thanks everybody for inviting me along this afternoon. I’ll be reasonably brief as I know we’ve got a Q&A to come shortly after this. Next slide please.
A little bit about me and why I’m doing this work for the Agency. I’m actually a pharmacist by profession and I’ve got multisector experience. So I feel or at least I have felt the pain many of you have felt over the years as I worked in community pharmacy servicing residential aged care facilities, as I worked my way through the complexities of multidose dispensing and packing and trying to make various systems work together so that my life was a little bit more straightforward and less fraught with potential errors particularly to do with transcription.
Now all of that brought me to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality and I spent a number of years working on safety and quality issues including nursing safety and now I’m blessed with one of the easier tasks in health care and that is coordinating this effort that we’re calling connecting Australian health care. And that really applies to all places in Australia where health and care is delivered.
This plan has not yet received official approval as it were but the signs are really looking very good that by the last quarter of this year we will be off and running with the support of health chief executives around the country and indeed the Commonwealth as well. The plan itself is three products in the suite initially. It’s got a short plan document itself which is designed to be read by any reader, a health service manager, a software vendor, even a consumer who might have interest in this topic area. And then for the more engaged reader who might want a little bit more of the detail around how the plan came about and where the actions and the contents came from, we’ve got a supplement that will sit behind it. Next slide please.
The plan on a page document sets out the five focus areas and the 44 actions that we have underneath the plan. The aim of the game is to bring together the entire healthcare sector whether it’s software vendors, providers of care, health service managers and Government in a concerted and dedicated push over the next five years to bring about a much more connected healthcare system.
Now as a pharmacist over the years I’ve worked in many high street stores where particularly of a Saturday afternoon a visiting tourist was seeking medicines that they’d left behind and it sure would have been a great deal of more comfort to me to have been able to drop in to a piece of software like My Health Record for example to check their dispense history rather than having to try and track down a GP who might or might not have been on call that weekend to confirm the details of that prescription. Equally as a grandson who lives quite far away from home it would have been awesome when my grandparents were still around and nearing the ends of their lives to have been able to get access to some of their health information that my parents were questioning me about but never seemed to have quite the right answers that I wanted to give them that advice. It would have been great to have that sort of interoperable healthcare system where I could have had that access regardless of where I was and be part of their care journey. I think about the same for my own parents and I’m sure many of you do for yours as well.
In order to deliver the plan over the next five years we’ve stood up a dedicated section within my branch which will look at implementing the 44 actions that are in that plan. In the next 12 to 24 months our work is very much dedicated on the activities that you see in front of you there. The health identifiers projects are really front of mind particularly with regard to those match rates and trying to figure out how exactly we can get that universal health identifier embedded into a point of care collection as much as possible.
We’ve got a piece of work which currently focuses on the jurisdictions that looks at putting together procurement advice so that all new ICT decisions about those investments keep interoperability and standards front of mind so that we don’t end up in situations where we’ve got whizz bang software being brought in but in fact it doesn’t talk to anything else that it needs to whether it’s adjacent in that health service or more broadly within the health system itself. We have a practical set of tools that will be available on the website that will be aimed at different parts of the health sector whether it’s to upskill non-tech people so that they can participate in the conversation or in fact help to broaden people’s awareness of interoperability more generally, whether it’s consumers, healthcare providers or other participants.
Later on we’ll look at digital maturity and trying to figure out how exactly we’re going to start measuring that both as a country but also within various parts of the sector as well. Next slide please.
An example of an application or a part of the plan that we’ve already got up and running is the digital health standards work. Again we’ve got a dedicated section that’s looking after this for us and we began our work close to 12 months ago now with an approach to our board seeking endorsement for a very discrete program of work. We wanted to rebuild our relationships with the standards development organisations and with the sector more broadly in this particular area and I can say happily that we’ve done quite well in that regard. We’ve forged an MoU which you may have seen in the media recently with HL7 and that’s to really foster a vibrant relationship between the two organisations to cooperatively advance our two agendas and really ensure that where we’ve got alignment we’re working very closely together.
Equally we’re working with Standards Australia to understand how exactly the two organisations can work together in a similar but more advanced way to how it worked about ten years ago or so. We’ve seen the outputs of that collaboration being really successful but now we need that to happen at great pace. That leads in to the standards catalogue which has been developed. Wireframes and all that design aspect is done and dusted and we’re now focusing on the content itself. And a key part of that will be ensuring that we’ve got the IP rights to access all of the various materials that we might like to have behind that catalogue so that it can be come a one stop shop for anybody interested in digital health standards and that will be a key part of how we’ll operate with Standards Australia.
Finally we’ve got a guiding set of principles which was a very simple, straightforward piece that started the conversation with a broad range of stakeholders in this space and that will be if you like the cornerstone of how we go about developing, adopting, using, implementing and evaluating the digital health standards over the coming years. We are particularly focused on keeping it simple, re-using what already exists where at all possible, looking internationally rather than starting from scratch and localising where at all possible, and then ensuring if we do have to do a piece of brand new development that it’s fit for purpose across a range of uses including across various parts of the healthcare sector and that it’s not locked in to a single isolated use.
That was a whizz bang stop through our work but I think you may have some questions to ask as part of the Q&A. Fay I think I can hand back to you.
Thank you Herbert. And in the interest of what you said, keeping it simple and making sure we’re re-using and only building where necessary, we are definitely partnering very closely with you guys around our business to Government gateway that we’re building so that we can ensure that we have one way of conforming across our areas including Services Australia. We’re looking very hard to keep it consistent across all three areas. So keeping it simple for providers and re‑using. And also any of your standards and guiding principles we are definitely looking at all things health medical following that fire standard. So albeit maybe everything may not be fire and we’ll keep working through that especially on some of the regulatory reporting. That’s kind of non‑medical things. But I think they’re the things that we’re all working out together in conjunction with the sector and during our partner sessions. So really appreciate you coming and presenting and letting us know what you guys are doing there.
And I think the most exciting part is that all parts of Government are actually sharing in this conversation at the moment. We’re not working in silos. Whereas I think a few years ago it would have been a scant note to sort of say well we’re doing this. Conversations are really active and the partnership is very obvious.
Yep. And that was one of the first bits of feedback that we got in the first Tech Talk, was that external in the sector we were seen as different areas doing different things to our own cadence and frequency and the sector was finding it really hard to kind of piece it all together. So these Tech Talks are an attempt in bringing a lot of that together. And so we highly encourage you guys that if you hear something somewhere else, more than happy for you guys to raise it here because we’re all connecting and we’re talking. And if that means aligning some of the priorities that we’re doing to make it more efficient and simpler, to just absorb the level of change that’s happening because there’s a lot going on. We want to do a lot because we want to make change quickly but we need to do it in a way that’s safe and secure and people can manage that change.
So you were correct. Our next thing is Q&A. So without further ado I’m going to hand over to Janine and she’s going to moderate any of the questions we’ve got. We’ve got about 15 minutes left. So Janine who have we got in question time?
So thanks Fay. We’ll have you stick around on stage with us and we’ll also welcome the rest of our panel. So Herbert, Mel and Jason who are our speakers from today that were able to stick with us for the remainder of the Tech Talk. Again just a reminder that you can raise your questions in Slido. If you prefer not to come to stage it’s okay. Just say no stage or raise your question anonymously and we can ask it on your behalf.
We do have a couple of brave folks who have used their name in their question so I’ll just give Kiran and Jessica a warning that we will be inviting you to stage. In the meantime I’ll ask a couple of anonymous questions. So you’ve got a minute to do your hair or get your video working and we’ll get to your questions. And thanks so much for identifying yourselves for those.
But first of all we’ll start with an anonymous question and this first one is for Jason. So the question is:
Q: You spoke about the workforce being empowered. How does the strategy address digital skills gaps for people working in the sector?
Such a great question. I’m glad this question was asked because when we were developing the key structure for the strategy we wanted to elevate the workforce to be equal with the providers. So what we see is currently we know that in terms of digital maturity across the aged care sector it’s pretty variable with our providers. And what we also know is what flows from that is that the workforce working for providers also has a variable level of digital maturity. So what I’d say is that we recognise that there is some development that’s needed.
But just stepping back a bit I think we need to remember that the reason why people go into the aged care sector is because they’re passionate about caring for older Australians. We’re not going to be seeking to turn aged care workers into IT professionals or coders. What we really need to do is invest in systems and technology that makes it easy for those workers and carers to record information the Government is asking them to do both in terms of compliance but also clinical. So we’re investing in a business to Government capability. We did get some funding from Government last year and we believe there’s a lot of potential there to actually ease that administrative burden so that we can allow the workforce to spend more time caring for older Australians. So it’s definitely going to be part of our consideration when we’re developing that enablement framework over time. So not only will we consider the activities that need to be done to lift provider digital maturity but also it’s really important that when we’re doing that we also think about the flow on effect for the workforce.
So such a great question. I’m so glad it’s been asked. Because we have considered the workforce front of mind when we’ve been developing this strategy.
And Jason I don’t know if you remember back to I think maybe the second Tech Talk – I lose track of which ones they were – but we did get a whole lot of questions and we did identify some strategic themes. We’ve been trying to work through those one by one as the highest priority and I think fairly soon and if not the next Tech Talk digital literacy will be coming back on to the agenda to have some discussions here so that we can ask you what you’re doing out in the sector and then how do we need to augment some of that through our change processes as we’re deploying new solutions that support the policy changes. So thanks Jason.
What’s the next question Janine?
Okay. So we’ll go with one more anonymous question before we get Kiran to the stage. So this one is for Mel.
Q: Is there any focus on care reform across NDIA and aged care to allow consistency of service outcomes?
Are you sure you don’t want to come up on stage and ask the question?
I’d like to say no stage too but that’s a really great question. And absolutely there is. So in a lot of the reforms that we’ve already done we looked to the NDIS to try and align regulation where it makes sense to do that. So the Code of Conduct and banning orders is a really good example where the Code of Conduct for aged care will be so similar to the NDIS that we’ll effectively have a Code of Conduct that covers both the NDIS sector and aged care. There will be slight differences depending on which bit of legislation it sits under but effectively the requirements will be the same across both sectors. The banning order schemes are very similar and it’s something that we’re taking into account in developing the new Aged Care Act as well. So we have to redesign the regulatory framework and we’re absolutely looking to the NDIS to see how we can make it much easier for providers who want to work across both sectors so that if you apply for registration in the NDIS then you might have an easier registration process in aged care so that we’re not kind of duplicating regulation and making it as easy as possible.
So we’re absolutely looking to achieve similar standards of care and conduct and also trying to align regulation wherever that makes sense.
Great. Thanks Mel. Okay. So we’ll invite Kiran to the stage now. Hi Kiran. Welcome.
Online Audience Member:
Hi. Good afternoon. I’ve got some issues with my video but I’ll try to fix it.
No worries. We can hear you loud and clear so feel free to ask away.
Online Audience Member:
Okay. Good afternoon. Thanks for giving this opportunity. I always say that digital is the new gold and especially Jason I like the strategy that you just presented especially on the part where we are saying that providers are more efficient and effective. I’m an EnCOMPASS aged care connector. I connect Elders from Hindi speaking and Vietnamese speaking communities to aged care services. As part of that journey one of the tools that I used is find a provider. So what happens is I put in a postcode, I get 32 providers, but unfortunately out of 32 at least 31 says they don’t have capacity.
So today we live in a world where we make reservations for our dinners, our movies, anything. So I think as we’re talking digital, if that particular website can be updated where when I put a postcode I should be knowing the potential service providers who have the capacity to take on the clients. I think that’s what I was looking for.
Thanks Kiran. And I was glad you put your question up and asked it because we actually asked in the background a little bit. So we primed some of the answer for you here. The find a provider website is actually separate, unauthenticated, and so you can have a look, and with the new GP MES system coming in the data underneath – I’ve just double checked – it is kind of linked and through the roadmap of change we will slowly start to consolidate and migrate some of the information. That won’t stop having the find a provider there, because sometimes you just need a website for people who don’t logon. But in future with GP MES you will be able to kind of logon with your account and get more detailed information.
Jason any other thoughts you want to add to that?
I would just say Fay that this was really a focus of the Royal Commission which is making sure that older Australians are provided with really clear information about the providers that might be out there not only in terms of availability – although that’s really, really essential – but things like star ratings, quality indicators, so that older Australians can make a really informed decision about the best provider that’s going to provide the services for them.
So we acknowledge that yes that can be a difficulty with availability but certainly there’s lots of work underway in the Department, lots of reforms to improve the transparency of providers, not only the services they provide but the quality of the services as well. So watch this space. I’d say in the next couple of months you’ll see some significant changes to information available on providers.
Great. Thanks very much Jason. And Kiran thank you for joining us on stage. It was great to have a live question.
So we’ll be trying to queue up Jessica Cotter if she’s still in the audience and in the meantime I’ll do a quick anonymous question for Herbert. So this one says:
Q: Interoperability is a huge challenge. How do we make this easier and less expensive for providers to fit in? How do we make the rules the same across Government?
I disagree. I think it’s the easiest job you could possibly have in health at the moment. If I had all of the answers to those questions I wouldn’t need to come to work anymore. I would be very, very wealthy. I think Fay really spoke to this earlier on when she highlighted the fact that the various parts of Government that have skin in this game are working really collaboratively together. Some of our conversations are detailed and a little bit heated but ultimately we are working very strongly together because we’ve got this one objective that we really do want to achieve.
We’re acutely aware of the fact that it can be administratively intense and costly to implement all of these various changes to software and we’re keeping that front of mind. We’re working very quickly with the various different agencies to try and understand where the particular pressure points across a given calendar year might be so that we’re not distracting from for example a major Services Australia piece or whatever it is, but that we are sliding in at an appropriate time to say look these changes are on the way. Maybe it’s a conformance profile assessment scheme, maybe it’s a bigger piece in interoperability over the next couple of years. All I can say is that the answers are works in progress. We’re not going to get it correct every single time but we’re getting better at making sure it’s as close to correct as we possibly can every time at the moment.
Great. Thanks very much. And I know it’s not an easy problem to solve and we could all make our fortune if we had the answer to that question today.
So we’re having a couple of issues with Jessica coming to stage so I’m just going to go ahead and read her comment. She said:
Q: In response to the workforce digital skills uplift are you aware of the Digital Skills Organisation?
And she’s given a link there Jason. We’ll get that to you and your team afterwards. But was that an organisation you were aware of and are referencing in the strategy?
Certainly. I mean in terms of the enabling framework we won’t be able to do this ourselves. So we’ll be looking to other organisations in Government and in the private sector to help us get to where we need to get to. So absolutely. Thanks Jessica for sending that link through. It’s a good reminder for us that there are some really good organisations out there doing great work to build digital skills.
Goodo. And Mel we have another question for you.
Q: Would the aged care workers being transitioned just obtain a workers clearance certificate rather than a police clearance?
Now that’s a question that’s going to put me in a really tricky spot but I’ll answer it as best I can. So the Government committed during the election to a worker registration scheme which effectively would be a worker clearance certificate rather than a police clearance but also has a couple of other features which would be English language proficiency and records of training and development, that kind of thing. So we’re at the moment working through exactly what that will look like and whether it’s a system that will attach to NDIS worker screening or whether it’s something standalone.
So I think the answer to the question is yes, we’re going to move away from police clearances to something different but I can’t say exactly what that is at the moment because that’s still subject to Government consideration. But yeah there will be I think decisions on that coming really soon.
Thanks Mel. We don’t want to put you in hot water but we appreciate you answering that one as much as you can. Great. Okay. Our next question – actually we’re at 3:30. I was about to do an open one for the panel.
We might just do a quick wrap up given that we’ve hit time. First of all thank you to all of our panellists. We really appreciate the robust discussion. Also thank you to our attendees for joining us today. As we’ve mentioned a couple of times recordings from this event will be published on to the digital transformation for the aged care sector area on the Health website. That should go up in the next week or so. You’ll also receive an email with a post-event survey and some links included so please feel free to check that out and let us know how you found the event. Our next Tech Talk will be approximately six weeks from now and in the meantime if you have any questions you can always contact us at the Digital Transformation Office. The email address is on the current slide.
I’ll hand over to Fay for any closing words. Thanks all.
Thanks Janine. And a big thank you to our speakers today. We really appreciate it. It makes for really interesting Tech Talks when we bring a variety of topics and show how we all come together. As always if you have any questions you can send it through to the office. There was one question.
Q: Are we still able to apply to co-design with Health?
Yes you can. Please send us an email and we’ll be in contact with you. We really appreciate everyone who joined us today. We understand that your time is valuable and we thank you for it. So enjoy the rest of the week. Bye now.
[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘In Closing’, ‘Visit the Digital Transformation page on the Health website’, ‘Email us at DTDOffice@health.gov.au’, ‘Take the Event Survey (with QR code)’]
[End of Transcript]
Questions and answers
We will upload the Q&A document when it becomes available.
To keep up to date about upcoming webinars, subscribe to our aged care sector announcements and newsletters.