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ITAC Conference put the spotlight on innovation in aged care

SPONSORED STORY - The Information and Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) Conference was hugely successful this year, bringing together the best experts in aged care and innovative technology, and explored solutions to issues in the sector. 

Graeme Wickenden, Awards Chair, ITAC Committee; Alicia Eugene, Hector VR Project Manager, McLean Care; Dr Ben Horan, Deakin University; and Rodney Young, Chair, ITAC Committee. [Source: Supplied]
Graeme Wickenden, Awards Chair, ITAC Committee; Alicia Eugene, Hector VR Project Manager, McLean Care; Dr Ben Horan, Deakin University; and Rodney Young, Chair, ITAC Committee. [Source: Supplied]

Running from 3-4 March, the Conference in Brisbane, Queensland, hosted numerous key speakers meeting this year's theme of Transforming Independence through Innovative Technology.

There were 300 delegates in attendance and 65 exhibition stands in the expo hall with a dedicated area for new innovative startups.

Rodney Young, Chair of the ITAC Conference Organising Committee, says this year went well and he was glad to see people were very enthusiastic about the event and the quality of speakers.

"I think the overarching message I got was that we all appreciate that the industry is under a great deal of pressure and that everybody is waiting with some level of anxiety for the outcomes of the Royal Commission. But one thing people clearly understand that we can actually work on in the meantime is how to use technology in its various forms to assist us to provide maximum efficiency and highest quality possible," says Mr Young.

"Underpinning that is everyone's recognition that we have to find 700,000 more staff over 30 years. That is not going to happen. Therefore, we have got to be far more attuned to how we assist people to have the maximum contribution to their own care and services. 

"I have a favourite saying, 'We need to move all of our care recipients from being a care recipient to being a care participant'. In other words, we're enabling people in various ways, much with advanced technology, to be more actively involved in monitoring and managing their own care and services than we have traditionally expected of people."

Mr Young believes the diverse group of speakers managed to cover big topics in aged care, including blockchain in the aged care space and how to utilise data more effectively.

Some of the highlight speakers at the event included Gihan Perera, Technology Futurist and Strategic Adviser on Strategising for our Technology Futures, and his presentation 'How Different will Tomorrow Be?' and consumer expert, Michael Parer, who explained the experiences and difficulties of someone receiving a Level 4 Home Care Package.

Mr Young says he was happy to see Mr Parer engaging with software vendors and explaining where the shortfalls are.

A day-long masterclass was run after the Conference by Microsoft and IT Integrity which explored data, how it gets used, and what tools are available to gather and disseminate that data easily.

Next year, the ITAC Conference will be in March 2021.

Mr Young says there will be further evolving scenes around data analytics and a new focus on robotics at next year's ITAC Conference.

"There is an evolving world of robotics in its various areas and how that might assist people, both maintain their independence but also be adjunct to human carers, so that we can maximise how we use human carers but have more routine tasks undertaken through technological support or robotic assistance," says Mr Young.

ITAC Awards

On the first night of the Conference, the ITAC 2020 Awards for Innovative Approaches and ICT Solutions were announced, which delivered awards to organisations who have demonstrated a focus on improving the lives of the aged and people living with disabilities.

The overall winner for the Conference Awards was McLean Care, who created a virtual vehicle simulator for older people to utilise. 

"It was replicated to relive some of their previous driving experiences, which we thought was very innovative. A different transformative solution for people who are trying to retain their license and need some additional assistance to gain their confidence and experience the driving process, or for people who have lost their license and loved to drive," says Mr Young.

Overall winner - McLean Care for Hector VR™ ™ Driving Simulator

Winners by category:

  • Category 1 - Best solution that achieves integration across multiple platforms and across different stages of their time with a provider (e.g. Home Care, Retirement Living, Residential Aged Care and Disability) BaptistCare for The Digitally Integrated Aged Care Business

  • Category 2 - Best solution that manages the tracking of clients’/workers (potential and actual) interaction with an organisation Skedulo for Mobile Workforce Management 

  • Category 3 - Best solution that provides ongoing consumer independence McLean Care for Hector VR™ ™ Driving Simulator

  • Category 4 - Best software development and/or deployment Procura for Procura Clinical Care Solution to PainChek Integration & Interoperability is realising better Clinical Care Outcomes for Enliven Peacehaven residents and CarePage for CarePage Business.

  • Category 5 - Best workforce efficiency or quality improvement solution Ozcare for Autonomous Mobile Robot Implementation

  • Category 6 - Best application of business intelligence to leverage value from big data Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) for Integrating ‘Big Data’ from the health and aged care sectors to provide better outcomes for older people in Australia

  • Category 7 - Best innovative development IRT Group for The Driverless Shuttle Service

  • Category 8 - Meritorious development Endeavour Foundation for Endeavour Foundation Connect

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