The seven year Technology Roadmap for Aged Care recently released by the Aged Care Industry Technology Council (ACIITC) talks about a technology enabled future for consumers, workforce and providers. To lead in that future, every business needs to plan to succeed, putting the consumer and care worker at the centre of their enablement strategy.
The aged care sector in Australia is experiencing dramatic transformation. Already under steadily increasing pressure from the baby boomer tidal wave, the sector is feeling the impacts of Federal aged care reform. And on top of all that, the soon to be fully funded National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will almost certainly result in an extremely contended labour market for care workers.
Consumer Directed Care (CDC) has flipped the model for aged care providers. Consumers now have far greater choice with regard to providers, services and pricing models, forcing providers to compete for new business.
Not only does this change call for new skills and capability, for most providers it also requires a complete rethinking of their IT architecture. Recognising this is an issue facing most of the sector, the Council’s Technology Roadmap is a guide for providers in planning their investment in IT networks, equipment and software.
The roadmap provides a valuable high-level view of the issues at play, however, it is absolutely vital that providers develop a tailored technology roadmap for their organisation that aligns with business strategy. And while common issues will be experienced throughout the sector, the way those issues are solved can be an opportunity for competitive advantage.
A tailored IT roadmap can help address many of the key challenges facing aged care providers.
- John Picot
The emerging market behaviour post CDC will ensure competition between providers will continue to grow in intensity. With the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) tightening, new disruptive competitive initiatives and margins under pressure, competitive advantage and efficiencies through better use of technology is critical.
The new model has also created a landscape which is both complex and competitive. If providers don’t make the buying experience simple, guiding the consumer and their family through the aged care maze, then their competitors will. Ensuring a consistently good buyer experience at scale requires customer relationship management (CRM) tools integrated with care systems to streamline sales, intake, and assessment. Care of any kind is an intensely personal service - a good CRM will allow a provider to keep track of personal preferences and satisfaction with regard to who provides their care (particularly in home care), along with individual needs, personal milestones, likes and dislikes.
For home care providers it is vital that information about the customer, scheduled visits, travel time and preferred workers is in the hands of support workers through smart devices. In a sector that has struggled to attract a younger workforce (the average age of care workers in Australia is 48 years) access to these tools will be key. Providing technology that makes care work more efficient and effective is essential to appealing to a generation that considers good working technology a non-negotiable.
But perhaps the most important part of any technology roadmap is ensuring that customer and operational data can move seamlessly across key business applications. Integration is critical to real time reporting on business performance and trends. The ability to recognise early changing trends in buyer behaviour, workforce opportunities or challenges, and financial performance will allow the business to adjust strategy and ramp up or down delivery capacity in real time.
The aged care sector in Australia is in the middle of a change revolution in the way it interacts with consumers, employees and the market. The new landscape will be marked by innovation, flexibility and fierce competition.
The operators who thrive will be those who are able to stay one step ahead of their competitors. A planned technology roadmap well executed will be the foundation for competitive advantage.