Ensuring Your Integration Partners Are Aligned to Enable Best-Practice in Aged Care
This post was created in partnership with PainChek, the world’s first clinically proven digital pain assessment tool. Using AI, facial recognition and smartphone technology,
The introduction of new technologies into the New Zealand aged care sector presents vast opportunities to improve treatment outcomes and the quality of care within these settings. However, embracing data-sharing and facilitating holistic patient care comes with a number of considerations—particularly with regard to integration between aged care software solutions.
In this article, we explore the critical role technology plays in enabling best practice in aged care, and considerations for ensuring integration partners are aligned to optimise the delivery of care.
The role of technology in aged care
There’s little doubt that technology is rapidly transforming the aged care sector and the ways in which resident care is managed and delivered.
In particular, cloud-based aged care software solutions are facilitating better outcomes by enabling multiple users and systems to simultaneously enter and exchange information. Data is automatically updated and synchronised in real-time, increasing reliability, reducing the risk of errors, and enabling faster, more accurate assessment and treatment.
A report by Medical Director revealed that 80% of clinicians believe data-sharing has the potential to improve the aged care industry through benefits such as increased care coordination, greater efficiency and better research capabilities. However, the industry-wide uptake of relevant technology is a challenge, for reasons including:
- Concerns regarding the security of information being stored or sent
- Inadequate communication between systems, practices, and healthcare professionals
- A lack of understanding around the importance of interoperability between integration partners
Educating aged care facilities on the importance of interoperability and the steps needed to protect the flow of sensitive data must remain a key focus. Without this, harnessing the advantages of data integration between aged care technologies may experience significant setbacks..
Putting interoperability at the forefront
Interoperability is the capability of a system to connect and communicate with other systems. Historically, this has been a key challenge within the healthcare sector as different clinicians, professions, and organisations have developed their own protocols and technology solutions to support them.
The rise of cloud-based technologies has paved the way for greater communication between systems and brought to light the need to prioritise interoperability when selecting integration partners. As the report by Medical Director states:
“Interoperability is paramount to an efficient and effective system of care. Information systems can securely store, make sense of and move large sets of data. Over time, allowing these systems to
integrate at the point of care will help deliver a higher standard of healthcare and inform more accurate patient diagnoses.”
The most significant benefits of integration between interoperable systems are coordinated care and improved treatment outcomes. Indeed, the NZ Ministry of Health and the Australian Digital Health Agency have identified interoperability as a strategic priority for the future of healthcare.
Within aged care settings, interoperability enables best-practice treatment by:
- Increasing coordination of care
- Reducing manual handling and double-handling of tasks
- Improving operational efficiencies
- Increasing access to key data and insights
Interoperability case study: VCare and PainChek
PainChek is a digital pain assessment tool that utilises AI and facial recognition technology to detect and assess pain, especially in those who cannot self-report, such as aged care residents living with dementia.
PainChek is now licensed in over 1,600 aged care facilities covering four regions of the world, and more than 500,000 cumulative pain assessments have been conducted to date. This has enabled better pain management for people who cannot reliably verbalise their pain—particularly those living with dementia and cognitive impairment.
VCare and PainChek are fully interoperable, meaning pain assessments completed in PainChek automatically flow through to VCare in real-time, and resident data recorded in VCare is automatically shared in PainChek.
At its simplest, the PainChek and VCare integration can be represented as:
The integration uses a combination of triggers to detect and synchronise changes to VCare patients or new PainChek assessments.
Resident changes within VCare are synchronised immediately with PainChek, for example, when:
- A new resident is created
- An existing resident is updated
- The admission details or status of a resident is changed
Together, VCare and PainChek provide an up-to-date, comprehensive overview of resident data with no duplication or double-handling. This not only gives back critical time to clinical staff but also enables best-practice care for all residents whose data is stored within the two systems.
A webinar was recently recorded with PainChek exploring the role of interoperably technology in enabling best-practice pain management in aged care settings such as rest homes, nursing homes and retirement villages. Click here to view a recording of the webinar.