Technology engendering innovation within the aged care and disability sectors

  • The intersection of technology and innovation reveals an increasing emphasis on a human-centric approach in the aged care and disability sectors.
  • Technological innovations can bring people together in more socially and economically inclusive ways.
  • This article provides four tips on emerging technology trends for the aged care and disability sectors.

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The changes in the aged care and disability sectors are driven largely by recent funding reforms, consumer need for choice and control, and advances in technology. This article focuses on emerging trends in the aged and disability sectors and the potential benefits in terms of business, people and culture practices.

We have an ageing population: more people are living longer and want to live independently for as long as possible. It is estimated that 22.6 per cent of the population in 2055 will be 65 and over (8.9 million people) in comparison with 15 per cent in 2015 (3.6 million people). We also know that one in five people in Australia are living with a disability. So with huge change reflected in the funding shifts to the consumers’ pockets through NDIS and CDC rather than block funding given to the agencies who deliver services, there is massive opportunity in these two sectors.

This calls for organisations in these sectors to become much more sustainable. They will need to attract and retain customers who can theoretically take their business anywhere. This new reality holds implications on all aspects of these organisations from how they run their business to new roles to how their culture will evolve. Unless the nongovernment sector has the capacity and confidence to grow substantially, the gap between demand and supply will increase.

Although our four tips will focus on emerging trends in technology, we must caveat that we are seeing this in organisations that have flexible teams, strong leadership, are open to taking measured risks and who are co-designing what the future of aged and disability care can look like with their customers. The recommendations which follow, are guided by the need to be pragmatic, flexible and less bureaucratic; to re-invigorate the principle of co-design and to improve communication and innovation.

1. Investing in technology starts with people

Changes in funding are creating opportunities for like-minded organisations with complementary skills and client sets to come together. One such example, Omnicare Alliance, used this as an opportunity to re-invest in technology for their staff.

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