The much-maligned My Aged Care will receive a $20 million overhaul from the Federal Government, with upgrades including integration with GP patient management systems to speed up access to care.
In response to the Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017, led by David Tune, the system revamp aims to streamline and shorten the assessment process by linking information and cutting red tape for consumers, providers and healthcare professionals.
According to Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, the investment will fund significant improvements to the My Aged Care information and care access system.
“A key message from the review is that ongoing engagement and collaboration with older people, their carers, families, care providers and aged care staff is vital to ensure we continue to deliver quality support and care,” Wyatt said.
As part of the make-over:
- GPs will be able to refer patients to My Aged Care from their patient management systems, reducing the need for fax or phone referrals.
- Aged care service assessors will be able to share client support plans with healthcare professionals.
- Service providers such as physiotherapists, podiatrists and occupational therapists will have greater access to the system.
- The availability of service providers will be displayed to reduce the numbers of rejected referrals.
- The system will link into information about registered deaths to improve communications with the families of the deceased.
- A streamlined assessment process will be implemented, making it shorter and more targeted.
The AMA welcomed Friday’s announcement with vice president Dr Tony Bartone saying he was pleased the aged care review had adopted some of the organisation’s recommendations for improving the My Aged Care information technology system. He said that while that the AMA is a strong supporter of digital health for the delivery of better health care, the technology has to work.
“In its submission to the review, the AMA outlined the multiple inefficiencies with My Aged Care,” Bartone said.
“In its current form, My Aged Care cannot satisfactorily handle electronic referrals from GPs, forcing them to resort to outdated methods like fax machines. The online form for an ACAT referral is not linked with clinical software, so it can’t be auto-populated with the GP’s clinical records, or be directly saved to the patient record. Instead, it has to be saved as an external document and attached, creating a significant administrative burden for already time-limited GPs.”
The AMA has repeatedly raised its concerns about the “inefficient” system and the delays it creates in providing patient care with the Department of Health, Bartone said.
“Improving communication with My Aged Care contact centre staff is essential to avoid missing vital information on a patient’s application form, which has considerably delayed care in the past. The Tune Report recommends that the National Screening and Assessment Form should be revised.”
The government predicts the proportion of Australians aged 65 years of age and older will increase to 18 per cent by 2026.