Conference Paper

The challenges in developing a seamless model of aged and disability community care in Australia within a mixed economy of service providers

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Abstract

Community Care in Australia is provided by a range of service providers including, government agencies, not for profit agencies and for profit agencies. Such a broad range of service providers presents a significant and complex challenge in the development of common and coherent Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems. These challenges include; limited interoperability, complex and differing work practices, conflicting data and reporting requirements, lack of agreement on common work processes across the sector, lack of skills, ad-hoc ICT funding and support. The authors of this paper argue that while policy and practice development in Community Care within Australia has emphasised person centred service delivery, localism, community engagement to enhance coordination and collaboration. Unfortunately the development and implementation of effective ICT practices across the sector have not matched this policy intention. The implementation of ICT has more often than not been technologically deterministic relying on off the shelf software and technology solutions that have reinforced significant interoperability issues, inflexible work processes and practices. Future ICT implementations would be more effective if it addressed the actual needs of service users, staff and enabled policy reforms to occur. Such reforms must also be accompanied by, effective change management, training, benefits realisation and support local information requirements.

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... Responsibilities for this provision fall to Commonwealth, State and Territory, and Local Governments, private funding agreements, and community (not-for-profit) organisations, all offering care to people suffering chronic illnesses, disability, or physical and cognitive decline. This fragmented allocation of services lends itself to problematic regulation and coordination (Clark & Lewis, 2012). Across all systems, however, the home care sector is one of Australia's largest employing industries (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2013). ...
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