Macquarie Telecom has upgraded Perth disability services provider Rocky Bay's network connectivity and its technology stack.
The upgrade came as Rocky Bay sought to improve efficiencies, digitise traditionally manual processes and pioneer neuro rehabilitation assistive technologies.
Rocky Bay provides services for Western Australians living with disability. The organisation employs more than 1000 people in roles including support work, occupational therapy, dietetics, nursing and accommodation services.
MacTel enabled Rocky Bay to enhance mobile communication between staff, transition therapy appointments online and deploy some assistive technologies.
MacTel also enabled a number of updates to workplace processes at Rocky Bay in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the enhancement of mobile communication to automate shift covering and switching between staff, who can now also exchange urgent information about customers; as well as a transition from in-person therapy to a virtual, tele-therapy format.
“Between April 2020 and May 2021, we’ve successfully conducted 2,903 tele-therapy sessions, and the new format has garnered positive feedback from customers,” Rocky Bay CFO Adam Maxwell said.
“We would not be able to pioneer emerging care technologies and make this kind of transition without Macquarie’s services, expertise and support.”
Rocky Bay in 2020 became the first provider in WA to offer the NeuroNode Trilogy system, a small, non-invasive wireless electromyography (EMG) sensor placed on the skin over the muscle. When a user attempts to move a certain muscle, the NeuroNode detects their EMG signals and uses them to allow control of a computer or communication device.
NeuroNode Trilogy also allows users to use eye-gaze control technology to operate devices, using infrared dual lights which shine on the eyeballs and triangulate the data to predict where someone is looking to locate a cursor. The user can use either method or both together by moving a cursor with their eyes and selecting or clicking using the NeuroNode switch. Along with this system, Rocky Bay also has a number of other eye gaze devices that can be trialled and used by customers.
In the announcement, a Rocky Bay customer was quoted on the organisation’s improved efficiencies from the addition of tele-therapy.
“Prior to COVID-19 we had only attended therapy sporadically during the school holidays, so that my daughter wouldn’t miss out on school. The transition to completing occupational therapy and speech pathology sessions online was scary at first, but we have had a lot of success with the format,” the customer said.
“We have continued with tele-therapy even now that lockdowns have eased, and complete weekly sessions that do not interrupt her schooling at all.”
Maxwell said the upgrades and new technologies are improving the lives of customers and staff at Rocky Bay.
“The NeuroNode and eye-gaze control technology sound incredibly futuristic, but they are already here in Western Australia and making such a difference in the lives of our customers and their families. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the capabilities of assistive technology’,” Maxwell said.
MacTel group executive Luke Clifton said the work Rocky Bay does “is nothing short of remarkable”.
“Since 1938 it has made such a difference in the lives of Western Australia’s most vulnerable and their loved ones, and it’s constantly looking for ways to expand its capabilities and help more people,” Clifton said.
“It has been a privilege to work alongside the organisation and play a small part in enriching the lives of so many.”
MacTel will continue working alongside Rocky Bay to roll out more technologies for its clients, including AI solutions to help predict when certain customer behaviours will arise, such as seizures, and initiate contact with a carer ahead of events, as well as virtual reality in customer homes.