By Damian Martina

What Role Does Technology Have in Aged and Disability Care?

From the front-line delivery of aged and disability care to the network of administrative and support staff behind the scenes, what are the ways in which technology can facilitate the delivery of the highest quality care possible? 

The challenges and opportunities for care

The aged and disability care sector is facing a huge number of challenges in the coming years – from a shifting regulatory landscape and uncertain economic environment, to an ageing population and changing workforce. 

These challenges prompt service providers to ask difficult questions: 

  • How can we become more efficient, while still remaining compliant? 
  • How can we remain agile in the face of changing regulations? 
  • Above all, what can we do to maintain and improve the quality of care we provide? 

The opportunities that technology presents to tackle these questions, and others, are described in our latest guide 4 Opportunities and Challenges for Care Providers Today.  

The Royal Commission’s findings

According to the Aged Care Financing Authority, as reported in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report, approximately 31% of home care providers and 42% of residential aged care providers reported an operating loss in 2018–19.

This is a clear sign that organisations are struggling to deliver care in a sustainable way, and ultimately represents a challenge to the dedicated workers on the front line of our business who are delivering care. 

In fact, the Royal Commission states that “Australia’s aged care system is understaffed and the workforce underpaid and undertrained”

The report also highlighted the industry’s underuse of technology, stating that it had no clear information and communications technology strategy. 

So what does technology have to offer the care sector? What opportunities do we have to deploy technology to confront these challenges? And where do providers start? 

Doing more with less

Efficiency is crucial for care providers who are expected to do more with limited resources. Technology plays a pivotal role in improving efficiency by automating administrative processes, especially those that also require precise record keeping. 

Automated billing, reporting, and contract management can streamline administrative operations, save time, freeing up resources. By reducing repetitive or time-intensive tasks, care providers can empower their teams to focus on meaningful work, leading to increased employee morale. 

Regulation and compliance 

In today’s highly regulated industry, it’s vital that care providers don’t miss anything. 

Automation can also ensure accurate record-keeping, reporting, and tracking – all essential in the regulatory environment of aged and disability care. By embracing automation, care providers can produce regular, accurate reports without human intervention, minimising the chances of compliance issues.

Improving standards of care

We’ve seen a not-for-profit disability care provider reduce the administration time spent on intake forms by more than 80% per customer. By digitising manual processes, saying goodbye to paper forms, and implementing a new data structure, the organisation has freed its staff to concentrate on the parts of their job that deliver real value for the people they care for.

These improvements don’t just apply to managers and ‘backroom’ staff. How much time do carers spend on admin tasks that take them away from those under their care? And what about unoptimised schedules that affect carers’ productivity? These are tasks that can be automated, with the right application of technology.

Ultimately, reducing the administrative burden for the majority of the workforce can lead to better outcomes for those receiving care. 

What other opportunities are there? 

Improving productivity is just one challenge that can be met by the application of technology. So what other problems can it solve? Here are just a few: 

  • The carers on the front line retain a huge amount of knowledge in their heads – imagine the possibilities for personalisation if they could share that knowledge with the rest of the business. But how can they capture, share and update that information?
  • Understanding each customer’s preference can make the difference between good and great care. Alongside improvements in efficiency through automation, CRM technology has the power to improve the relationship between carers and the people they care for. In fact, according to Salesforce research into workflow automation, 67% of healthcare organisations worldwide say they are accelerating automation initiatives for customer service.
  • Most organisations aspire to use the latest and best tools available, but finding time for innovation can be difficult for teams already snowed under by day-to-day tasks. Even deciding which part of the business would benefit the most from technology can be a daunting prospect.

Where to start 

The imperative to embrace technology is clear. The question remains, however, of how to make a start on the journey to transformation. 

The good news is that care providers don’t need to digitise their whole organisation in one fell swoop. In fact, better results can be achieved through iteration – by carefully selecting and automating the processes that will generate the greatest outcomes, they can start driving results for their business. 

We have created a guide to the opportunities that technology brings to the aged and disability care industry. Download your copy to: 

  • Get insights into the challenges faced by care providers in today’s landscape
  • Understand how automation can streamline administrative processes and boost efficiency
  • Discover some practical steps to kick-start your digital transformation journey

Download the guide 4 Opportunities and Challenges for Care Providers Today.

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