Telstra Health joint venture PowerHealth has partnered with workplace location technology vendor Contact Harald to develop a solution that can electronically capture activity data for costing studies and comparison with the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model.
Contact Harald uses wireless Bluetooth cards and bracelets worn by staff to automatically capture care time. Predominantly used for workforce location and asset tracking, the technology was put into action in residential aged care during the COVID pandemic as a proximity-based contact tracing system.
The technology is used in a variety of industries and has been adapted for healthcare purposes in association with the RMIT Cisco Health Transformation Lab in Melbourne.
The technology has now been interfaced with PowerHealth’s activity-based costing system PowerPerformance Manager (PPM) to allow aged care providers to understand service delivery costs.
PowerHealth is a specialist in billing and costing solutions for the acute care sector, with its web-based PPM system able to calculate hospital service delivery costs. It is now adapting it for aged care to allow providers to understand costs per resident.
This can then be used to calculate a cost per day per aged care resident to compare against the AN-ACC funding model.
Contact Harald chief financial officer Nick O’Halloran said other patient or resident-level costing studies have relied on manual time and motion studies, which are both expensive and prone to user error.
“Our application automates the collection of the data required for costing studies, making the process as inexpensive and as frictionless as possible, which is critical for the ongoing sustainability of the industry,” Mr O’Halloran said.
“Our joint technology renders this achievable through increased ease of use and automated data capture of resident interventions.”
The Bluetooth cards are similar to those worn by staff already, while resident cards or bracelets are placed on their person or care equipment. Cards are registered using the location of the resident or the staff role, not the individual.
According to a PowerHealth spokesperson, costing in the acute setting has used electronic patient-level data and a wide array of cost drivers.
The aged care setting, however, has experienced a lack of electronically captured activity data. And while interventions are recorded in resident notes and on care plans, this information is not available electronically, the spokesperson said.
The new solution is aimed at allowing accurate reviews, scenario planning and forecasting against future funding models, including AN-ACC.