The recently released Productivity Commission report on Caring for older Australians is missing a whole chapter on strategies to keep older Australians out of aged care facilities according to the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA).
The Commission has released a detailed report proposing a major overhaul of the aged care system in Australia. The report noted that older Australians wish to remain independent and in control of how and where they live their lives. However, the report fails entirely to include strategies for keeping older Australians out of aged care facilities by delivering medical care in the home.
"The final report due in June 2011 needs to include strategies on supporting older Australians to stay in their own home," said Anne Trimmer, MTAA Chief Executive Officer.
"There are a range of smart medical technologies that help people remain in their home, rather than relying on expensive hospital or aged care facilities as the only option," concluded Trimmer.
Considerable savings of up to $3.1 billion per year can be achieved by improving delivery of healthcare in the home, reducing the premature need for residential care and residential care packages and reducing the costs associated with emergency room admissions, potentially preventable hospitalisations, flying doctors services in rural areas, and chronic disease management.
There are a number of indirect cost savings available through telehealth solutions, for example, reducing patient travel time, reducing the burden on family members and caregivers and loss of income.
There are a number of ways that medical care and telehealth consultations can be provided to patients in their homes, for example, using implantable cardiac devices, which are able to wirelessly transmit cardiac data or information regarding the performance of a device, or vital signs monitoring using equipment and medical devices installed in the patient’s home to identify trends and send alerts when necessary.
In other recent submissions MTAA recommends an Essential Care List for medical consumables such as modern wound care products and sleep apnoea devices and provision of Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item numbers for telehealth extending to the assessment and monitoring of medical data collected from a patient’s home (remote patient monitoring).
MTAA will make a further submission to the Productivity Commission and participate in the public consultations.
For copies of the submissions, please access the MTAA website: www.mtaa.org.au
The Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) is the national association representing companies in the medical technology industry.
Media contact: Marion Demann MTAA 0416 625 678