High-end provider Thomas Holt is using the latest technology to genuinely transform the aged care experience, explained George Lymbers, CIO, and Steve Liliopoulos, Digital Information Manager, at Akolade’s Technology in Aged Care Forum.
Mr Lymbers noted the importance of ensuring that “people” – staff, residents, and resident’s families – must be the drivers of new technologies in aged care.
“My mother is in aged care, and I’m keen to understand two things: how technology can help my mother, and how technology will help me when I get to her stage,” he said.
He said developers must take care when developing new innovations, citing the example of Uber which has had some disappointing social impacts.
“The actual care of our residents – or clients – is fundamental to us and what we’re keen to do is to provide an superlative experience every time we interact with them,” he said.
“We need to make sure our organisation is transformed so it doesn’t replicate what was done today is rehashed for tomorrow.”
The company uses four prompts when it is developing new technology.
It gets staff to think, and it engages them. Every time a changes is made, staff are asked to provide feedback.
- How do staff feel about the new technology? “We want them to feel it is helping them,” said Mr Lymbers. “Staff are more interested in providing care that administration,” he said.
- Are the new tools connective? Previously, staff at Thomas Holt were disconnected from the company’s back end systems.
- Does the change create a sense of belonging / culture?
The company is using wellness technology research from the US that recommends the following initiatives:
- Smart communities – interconnectability with other people , loved ones, and other technologies,
- Building a comprehensive technology backbone, and
- Unleashing the coolest tech – for example Thomas Holt has tested ‘fun’ technologies, such as virtual reality, with residents.
Mr Lymbers said Thomas Holt’s new technologies are a drawcard for new residents, and are part of the reason there are waiting lists for its facilities.
Thermal technology is delivering big data
Mr Liliopoulos said in an age of “instant gratification”, Thomas Holt’s new technologies allow family members to “feel connected” by being able to see what their loved one has been doing, what they have planned for the week, every meal, and how much have they consumed of that meal, among other things. This information is available to families from anywhere in the world – and they can communicate with their loved one from anywhere in the world, even when the resident is in bed.
This transparency means families are asking less questions of staff, therefore freeing staff up to spend more time caring for residents.
Thomas Holt is also using innovative thermal technology that has been developed in Israel especially for aged care. It can track falls, sleep, sitting, movement, how many visitors are in the room, unauthorised access to the medicine room, spilt water, how many people have come into the room, and who’s left the room.
Not only can the thermal technology track all these incidents, it provides large amounts of data. “We’re talking big data,” said Mr Liliopoulos.
This data is obtained unobtrusively and can be “harvested”, to find patterns and to make sense of it, and linked together to make the best use of it.
“Every time someone moves around, that’s a data point, and we need to be able to capture that and make sense of it,” he said.
“Where we want to go with this is around prediction modelling and machine learning,” said Mr Liliopoulos.
“Predictive modelling is where I think the industry is heading,” he said.
Thomas Holt is aiming to deliver a hotel experience in the aged care industry – from the point of the first enquiry to the point of admission, the point of readmission, and to the point of departure – the whole life cycle, he said.