Glossary - technology in aged care

This glossary provides definitions for some of the commonly used technologies within aged care settings.

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  • Ambient assisted living (AAL)
    Ambient assisted living (AAL) is a common name for various artificial intelligence (AI)-infused applications and platforms that support their users in multiple activities, from health to daily living. These systems use different approaches to learn about their users and make automated decisions, known as AI models, for personalising their services.
    Source: Jovanovic M, Mitrov G, Zdravevski E, Lameski P, Colantonio S, Kampel M, et al. Ambient assisted living: Scoping review of artificial intelligence models, domains, technology, and concerns. J Med Internet Res. 2022;24(11):e36553.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
    Artificial intelligence (AI) uses computers and big sets of data to mimic the cognitive abilities of the human mind such as problem solving, decision making, and data interpretation. It also encompasses sub-fields of machine learning and deep learning. AI in aged care has been useful in setting up smart homes with sensors to monitor falls and devices such as facial recognition technology to assess pain in people who are unable to communicate.
    Source: IBM. What is artificial intelligence (AI)? n.d. [cited 2023 June 23].
  • Assistive technology (AT)
    Assistive Technology (AT) is any device, system or design used by individuals to perform tasks that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. AT range from simple household items like a jar opener to the more complex items like pressure care mattress that prevents pressure sores.
    Source: Assistive Technologies Australia. What is assistive technology? 2020 [cited 2023 June 23].


  • Care management system technology
    Care management system technology is technology used by aged care services to manage relevant information about the people in their care. They are used to store documents and relevant client information.
    Source: Telstra Health. The role of digital technology in aged care. 2020 [cited 2023 June 23].
  • CeHRes roadmap
    The Centre for eHealth Research (CeHRes) roadmap is a holistic technology implementation framework used to guide professionals (designers, developers, project managers) and researchers in the development and implementation of eHealth technologies.
    Source: van Gemert-Pijnen JE, Nijland N, van Limburg M, Ossebaard HC, Kelders SM, Eysenbach G, et al. A holistic  framework to improve the uptake and impact of ehealth technologies. J Med Internet Res. 2011;13(4):e111.
  • Cybersecurity
    Cybersecurity refers to keeping computer networks and the information they hold safe.
    Source: Coventry L, Branley D. Cybersecurity in healthcare: A narrative review of trends, threats and ways forward. Maturitas. 2018;113:48-52.


  • Digital health literacy
    Digital health literacy, or e-Health literacy, is the use of digital literacy skills in health. People who are digitally health literate can use a computer, phone or the internet to find and use health services and information.
    Source: Canberra Health Literacy. Digital health literacy. 2023 [cited 2023 June 23].
  • Digital health records
    Digital health records or electronic health records provide a safe and secure digital space to store health information. They are a digital version of notes that used to be kept in paper form.
    Source: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. Electronic health records. 2022 [cited 2023 June 23].
  • Digital health technology
    Digital health or digital health technology refers to using technology to improve the healthcare system for providers and patients alike and includes telehealth, digital or electronic health records, electronic prescriptions and other electronic documents.
    Source: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. About health technologies and digital health. 2022 [cited 2023 June 23].
  • Digital readiness
    Digital readiness is usually defined by the level of readiness of an organisation's workforce to transition into digitised workflows that are enabled by software and technology. Digital readiness can also be related to the individual, the organisation or the system’s readiness to use and implement digital technology.
    Source: Ogbevoen L. Oden Technologies. What is digital readiness? 2023 [cited 2023 June 23].
  • Digital transformation
    Digital transformation particularly in aged care is a process of creating a better-connected aged care sector by simplifying, digitising and automating points of connection between clients, providers, the software industry, and government.
    Source: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. About digital transformation for the aged care sector. 2022 [cited 2023 June 23].


  • eHealth
    eHealth is the cost-effective and secure use of information and communications technologies in support of health and health-related fields, including health-care services, health surveillance, health literature, and health education, knowledge and research.
    Source: World Health Organization. eHealth. 2023 [cited 2023 June 23].
  • Electronic prescriptions
    An electronic prescription is a digital version of a paper prescription. Electronic prescriptions are safe and convenient alternatives to paper prescriptions.
    Source:  Australian Digital Health Agency. Electronic prescriptions. 2023 [cited 2023 June 23].


  • Facial recognition technology (FRT)
    Facial recognition technology (FRT) involves the automated extraction, digitisation and comparison of spatial and geometric distribution of facial features. Using an algorithm, FRT compares an image of a face with an image stored in a database to identify a match. FRT has been used in aged care to detect and analyse pain or as part of smart home technology.
    Source: HWL Ebsworth. Facial recognition technology and the law. 2022 [cited 2023 June 23].


  • Gaming
    A game is a system that involves different components such as rules, players, competition, and opponents traditionally used for entertainment purposes. Gaming can include traditional board games or may involve more advanced electronic devices that can be interacted with (e.g., computer, tablet, gaming console).
    Source: Pakarinen A, Salanterä S. The use of gaming in healthcare. In: Charalambous A, editor. Developing and utilizing digital technology in healthcare for assessment and monitoring. New York: Springer; 2020. p. 115-125.


  • Information communication technologies (ICTs)
    Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) encompass networked equipment that allows for intra- and inter-network communication via email and the Internet. ICTs are used widely in aged care. They include storage and data analytics, healthcare delivered via  telehealth, and video conferences that keep people socially connected.
    Source: The Architecture Practice. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety: ICT strategy and architecture review report. 2020 [cited 2023 June 23].
  • Internet of things (IoT)
    The Internet of Things is a concept that refers to the digital interconnection of everyday objects with the internet. It is a broad term that embraces sensing devices and technologies such as sensors, radio frequency identification (RFID), global positioning system (GPS), infrared and wearable technologies. 
    Source: Tun SYY, Madanian S. Mirza F. Internet of things (IoT) applications for elderly care: A reflective review. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2021;33:855–867.
  • Interoperability
    Interoperability is the ability of different information systems, devices and applications (systems) to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner, within and across organisational, regional and national boundaries, to provide timely and seamless portability of information and optimise the health of individuals and populations globally.
    Source: Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Interoperability in healthcare. 2023 [cited 2023 June 23].




  • Robots
    A robot is a type of automated machine designed to carry out tasks performed by humans. An assistive robot gives aid or support to a human user for example, as part of rehabilitation, to assist mobility, or to educate. A socially assistive robot helps by providing social interaction.
    Source: Vandemeulebroucke T, Dierckx de Casterlé B, Gastmans C. The use of care robots in aged care: A systematic review of argument-based ethics literature. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2018;74:15-25.


  • Smart homes
    A smart home is a place of residence with integrated technology to assist the people who live there to remain independent, safe, and improve their quality of life. Smart homes are set up with sensors, actuators, and intelligent software which can be integrated into furniture, walls, and everyday objects.
    Source: Aggar C, Sorwar G, Seton C, Penman O, Ward A. Smart home technology to support older people's quality of life: A longitudinal pilot study. Int J Older People Nurs.
  • Smartphones
    Smartphones are mobile devices that can perform many of the functions of a computer, on a smaller scale. They usually have a touchscreen interface, access to the internet, and the capability to run downloaded apps.
    Source: Pech M, Sauzeon H, Yebda T, Benois-Pineau J, Amieva H. Falls detection and prevention systems in home care for older adults: Myth or reality? JMIR Aging. 2021;4(4):e29744.
  • Social engagement technologies
    Social engagement technologies support older adults to keep in contact with friends and family. They include social media apps such as video chat products (e.g., WhatsApp) and social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
    Source: Banskota S, Healy M, Goldberg EM. 15 smartphone apps for older adults to use while in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. West J Emerg Med. 2020;21(3):514-525. 


  • Telehealth, telemedicine and telecare
    Telehealth is the use of telecommunications technologies to support the delivery of all kinds of healthcare services remotely including medical support, patient health education, social support and troubleshooting health issues for patients and their caregivers. Telemedicine is more specific to medical, diagnostic and treatment-related services. Telecare refers to technology that allows consumers to stay safe and independent in their own homes such as exercise tracking tools or digital medication reminder systems. 
    Source: Federal Communications Commission. Telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare: What's what? n.d. [cited 2023 June 23].