Such is the case in the aged care sector, with a PwC study finding 75% of consumers and 66% of decision-makers feel technology was essential to providing high-quality aged care both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Of greater concern is that only 52% of decision-makers and 61% of aged care recipients said their provider was using technology to improve the speed and efficiency of care.
If you are one of the aged care providers that still have some distance to travel on the digitisation journey, there is no time to waste. From technology solutions that increase personalised care and create new revenue opportunities to end-to-end automation platforms that reduce operational costs and enhance regulatory compliance, there are a variety of ways to secure quick wins or ensure long-term benefits.
Here are five compelling reasons to deliver digital transformation that is right for both clients and employees:
- Consumer expectations – be it low-level residential aged care facilities or those that cater for high-care needs, residents and their families want more personalisation from their providers. Having seen how technology has improved sectors such as retail and finance, they are rightly asking why that level of service cannot be extended to aged care. Surely accurate, timely and quality service is more important for a senior citizen dealing with chronic illness than a teen shopping online. Investing in technology that delivers a seamless digital consumer experience and allows employees to focus more on care than administration is a path to higher patient and resident satisfaction rates.
- Employee churn – the aged care industry is facing a worrying talent shortage. Estimates suggest an additional 35,000 aged care workers are needed in Australia each year to fill growing skill gaps and the scary thing is those numbers will likely rise as demand does. To avoid employee turnover, it is essential staff feel valued, productive and not weighed down by tasks that are not part of their original job description. Rather than have them searching for patient records or copying and pasting information across outdated systems, automation solutions can remove the administrative burden, while innovative CRMs can empower aged care workforces by offering timely access to information and customised care for patients.
- Quality care – the aged care sector is all about people. From the staff who work so hard to the clients and families who benefit from their efforts, the industry deals with people at every step of the journey. For that reason, it is critical to keep end-users in mind when digitising systems, automating processes or creating optimal rosters. Countless solutions on the market focus heavily on increasing revenues or cutting costs for businesses who deliver B2B services but do not lose sight of the need to keep ‘care’ at the heart of health care. This is especially so given an aging population and why any digital transformation must be complemented by a commitment to keep clients and employees top of mind.
- Do more with less – economic uncertainty has been talked about a lot in recent months and, with budgets under pressure, it is not a simple case of growing one’s headcount to support the growth of one’s aged care operation. Embracing end-to-end automation enables organisations to offload a considerable amount of clerical responsibilities to technology, freeing up workers to focus on more skilled and valuable work. Technology is also reducing the burden of rostering, which so often causes frustration for both managers and staff. By improving forecasts, AI leads to better shift planning, fewer last-minute calls for staff and having the right resources in the right place at the right time.
- Improved agility – aged care is a sector where the government of the day makes the rules and that means the landscape is constantly evolving. Whether adapting to new legislation or negotiating a change of government, providers need to be as agile as possible and technology plays a crucial role in helping them. With cloud-based solutions, they can adapt quickly when the goalposts change and capitalise on the opportunities such moments bring. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was a prime example, with its 148 wide-ranging recommendations highlighting how broad and all-encompassing sweeping reforms can be.
The days of trying to manage aged care management and compliance through spreadsheets or on paper are over. The risk of human error is too great, the lack of integration is self-defeating and staff cannot afford to be spending their time on time-consuming and repetitive processes when there is a better way - using digital transformation to connect, automate and modernise your system.
Whether you are a payer or provider in the aged care sector, it is time to embrace the digital future and elevate your customer experience. Learn how automation is helping to optimise operations, empower teams and provide quality outcomes for patients.
 Transforming the aged care experience (pwc.com.au)
 Overseas recruitment won't solve Australia's aged care worker crisis (theconversation.com)
 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety