The ‘Aged Care Data Compare’ project, which began last month, will help to improve access and exchange of information used to measure the quality of services provided to residents in aged care facilities.

Project outcomes include developing a technical data specification for the healthcare data shared by residential aged care facility (RACF) providers, and building a prototype data hub so providers can exchange data, and benchmark the care they provide.

Dr Michael Costello, Interim CEO of the Digital Health CRC, said the project will help to pave the way for aged care providers to introduce a new era of continuous quality improvement.

“Through this project, we will have a prototype for how we can effectively share information across aged care providers that use different IT systems,” he said.

The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) project is a collaboration between the Centre for Health Services Research, University of Queensland, the Bupa Health Foundation, and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

“We need to have a much stronger handle on the huge amount of data that is collected across the aged care sector,” said Dr Costello.

“Right now, we can’t easily compare data about care, quality and performance when it comes to aged care, because different systems are being used all over the country,” he said.

Dr Costello says that technology and data are key to managing and monitoring the long-term quality and provision of aged care – and it starts with making the best use of the resources and data we already have.

Project Lead, Professor Len Gray from the Centre for Health Services Research at the University of Queensland, said that the project will map the data across the various systems currently used in the sector to an internationally recognised standard, and identify a panel of measures to allow benchmarking between providers.

“The outcomes of this project will resolve the technical challenges that inhibit data standardisation and sharing between residential aged care facilities, helping to make best use of the data we already have to inform improvements in care” said Professor Gray.

Project launch webinar

The University of Queensland will host a webinar on July 17 at 1pm AEST. Professor Len Gray will give a project overview and explain how aged care service providers and technology vendors can get involved in one of two working groups, a clinical and a technical working group. The webinar will include an extended Q&A session.

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