Telstra Health, RMIT and the Digital Health CRC will spend $1 million developing clinical decision support software to predict deteriorating health of people receiving aged care.
The software will ultimately form part of Telstra Health’s residential aged care software suite, and is expected to be created over the next two years.
The three organisations said in a statement that they hope to “reduce emergency hospitalisations and allow more time for end of life plans”.
“Emergency hospitalisations are not only stressful for aged care residents and their families, but they also place significant additional demand on hospitals,” Digital Health CRC CEO Dr Victor Pantano said.
“To be able to treat residents earlier, and avert the need for hospitalisation, is extremely important.
“Similarly, the earlier we can ascertain that an aged care resident is approaching end of life, the earlier we can enact their advance care plan and honour their preferences – an important process for the aged care resident, their carers and families, and the aged care provider.”
The software could also allow aged care providers to plan staffing and clinical resources.
RMIT Professor of computer science, Professor Lawrence Cavedon, said his research team would “work with gerontologists and aged care staff to interpret historical data and develop new predictive analytics techniques, as well as adapting existing decision support methods from the acute care sector.”
“Researchers will work closely with clinicians to understand reliable signs of patient deterioration, how this might be identified from recorded data, and to manage any related ethical issues,” Cavedon said.
Telstra Health said existing users of its software are likely to participate in the project.
“The new algorithms will first be tested using historical data and then applied to current data in a trial setting,” the statement said.
The project is “one of many being rolled out over the coming months through the Digital Health CRC,” Dr Pantano added.
iTnews has previously revealed some of the Digital Health CRC's directions and activities in its Digital Nation series.