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Enhancing workforce effectiveness through technology-based care and management systems: Hurdles and strategies.

McDonald, T. A. (ACKNOWLEDGE Thompson, R. (CEO) & Kwok, C. (DCEO)), 2008

Aged & Community Services Australia National Conference (ACSA), Adelaide Australia


Background: The aged care industry across Australia has responded to encouragement from governments and peak organisations to embrace technology solutions to both care and staffing issues and has responded in innovative ways to this call. For managers, clinicians and support staff much of the hurdle to be overcome in implementing computer-based systems lies in skill enhancement within a culture of rapid change.

Objective: The aims of this paper are to identify the hurdles faced by managers and staff in implementing contemporary systems of information technology (IT) to the aged care context; and to suggest approaches that can be used to overcome resistance to IT by staff and enhancement of their IT proficiency and transfer of evidence to practice

Methods: At the aged care facility a commercial IT system of care and management was introduced for 817 residential aged care clients at various levels of need for care, treatment, support and protection. The system needed to be adapted to emphasise the care philosophy of the organisation which focuses on prevention of health deterioration and maximising quality of life. In 2007-2008 the introduction of a commercial IT system for management, care and treatment resulted in a wholesale change in the culture of the Village and predictably, there were staff who adapted early to the changes while others were more reluctant. Staff training in basic IT usage was required in many instances and the 596 staff underwent intensive skills enhancement through group learning and on-to-one coaching. As well, the IT hardware needed to be adapted to take the commercial software, and then training in the use of the software was needed.

Results: Of the (how many) registered nurses and (how many) managers and (how many) support staff involved in IT training, implementation and proficiency coaching, (what percentage) reached mastery of all aspects within (how long) of commencement.

Conclusions: Change implemented within a care context with traditional reliance on non-technology solutions requires management commitment to (i) adequate IT resourcing (ii) organisational culture of support (iii) acknowledgement of staff input and innovation (iv) evaluation of outcomes for staff, managers and clients.

CITATION McDonald, T. A. (2008) Enhancing workforce effectiveness through technology-based care and management systems: Hurdles and strategies. Aged and Community Services Australia National Conference, ACSA08 “Aged Care in the Fast Lane” Adelaide, Sept 28 to Oct 1.


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