Tell Touch: A digital health intervention for the aged care sector

Rosemary Fisher*, Antony Linden*, Tanya Linden**, Kim T.C Le*

*Swinburne University of Technology; **The University of Melbourne

Quality of life for the elderly is a global concern. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable group of our population was at the centre of media campaigns, and government and community concerns due to the substandard care they were experiencing. In response to these concerns, in 2020 aged care nurses and consultants Christine Brodrick and Diana Cooper developed Tell Touch, a digital application designed to address problems with the quality of care provided to residents of aged care homes (ACHs). Tell Touch enables aged care service providers to ensure their complaints and feedback processes comply with or exceed the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) Standard 6. The app uses principles of cultural inclusion, accountability, accessibility, and streamlined feedback to collect feedback and complaints from residents of ACHs and their family members or carers. It also produces reports that identify opportunities for improvement in the quality of care provided to residents.

An independent pilot evaluation of the app was conducted in ten ACHs to assess its effectiveness. The project contextualised the well-accepted Technology Adoption Model adopted by Holden et al [1], to explore the user’s experience of implementing Tell Touch in ACHs by examining perceptions of ease of use, usefulness, social influence to use, training received, technical support provided, perceived usefulness for consumer care, social influence of consumer’s family to use, and demographic variables.

The results of the evaluation were positive, with mean results above the midpoint on all questions. Perceived ease of use, satisfaction with the app, social influence to use the app, complete use of app functions, and intention to utilise the app were all above five on a 7-point scale. Thematic analysis of interviewee data provided additional insights into why and how staff perceived using Tell Touch to be satisfactory. In addition, it captured some suggestions for potential improvements to the app.

Overall, the evaluation concluded that Tell Touch is an effective information technology (IT) communication platform for complaints and feedback handling in ACHs. This suggests the app's guiding principles were meaningful to users and successfully implemented. Furthermore, the evaluation supports suggestions that utilising real-time data gathered from feedback apps could contribute to transforming the aged care service delivery model, making it more accountable, consumer-centred, and compliant with government legislation. 

Lessons learned from the implementation and use of Tell Touch include:

  1. Users cannot be assumed to all have the same level of IT literacy skills
  2. A ‘go to’ person is needed in each organisation to train new users
  3. Clients need to be regularly followed up after onboarding to ensure they are using and are aware of all features.

This pilot evaluation highlights the potential for technology to improve the quality of care provided to elderly residents of ACHs. The use of Tell Touch has enabled these ACHs to streamline their complaints and feedback processes. This has enabled the identification of opportunities for improvement in the quality of care provided to residents. By collecting real-time data, ACHs can become more accountable, and consumer-centred as well as compliant with government regulations, whilst ensuring the highest quality of care is delivered for their residents.

The successful implementation of Tell Touch demonstrates the potential for technology to transform the aged care service delivery model. By prioritising cultural inclusion, accountability, accessibility, and streamlined feedback, technology can support the provision of high-quality care to elderly residents of ACHs. As the global population ages, it is essential that we continue to develop and implement innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for the elderly. Tell Touch is a promising solution that can help achieve this goal.

*The views and opinions expressed in Knowledge Blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ARIIA, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.

  1. Holden RJ, Brown RL, Scanlon MC, Karsh B-T. Modelling nurses' acceptance of bar-coded medication administration technology at a paediatric hospital. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012;19(6):1050-1058.

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