An ageing population is placing growing pressure on Australia’s aged care sector. In the next five years alone, it’s estimated that an additional 76,000 residential aged care places will be needed across Australia.
The challenges of demographic shifts, combined with the reform that is expected to arise from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, are driving transformational change among aged care providers.
Consumer choice, service quality, staffing ratios and funding have all come under the microscope in recent times. As a result, when the Royal Commission’s interim report is handed down in October 2019, aged care providers can expect to see a renewed focus on compliance, reporting, transparency and quality of care.
Aged care funding reform: putting consumer at the centre
Over the last decade, Australia has seen a shift towards consumer-directed care which empowers consumers with more choice and control over the services they receive. In a similar model to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), aged care funding is now directed to consumers to spend how they choose, rather than being allocated to aged care providers.
This shift is increasing market competition and putting pressure on aged care providers to transform the way they deliver services. To remain competitive, providers are ramping up their focus on better customer service, efficient operations and flexible models of care.
Why aged care providers need to pay attention and take action now
Adapting to a newly competitive market landscape doesn’t happen overnight. Aged care providers looking to streamline their operations and improve their services are undertaking sustained and incremental change to achieve change without risking their financial positions.
With the tighter margins resulting from regulatory change, many providers are finding that there’s not a lot of financial wriggle room.
In all likelihood, the Royal Commission will require aged care providers to respond rapidly to a raft of legislative, regulatory and service delivery changes.
There is a window of opportunity for providers to take action by building relationships across the sector, claiming payments from government and demonstrating service quality against standards to ensure they’re in the best position possible for the next wave of change.
Working smarter to improve the quality of care
There’s no doubt that aged care providers are navigating a complex landscape as they balance the pressures of regulatory change, legislative reform and a high-profile Royal Commission.
To emerge successfully on the other side, aged care providers need to keep a relentless focus on retaining experienced staff, offering flexible and high-quality aged care services to consumers and claiming government payments as efficiently as possible.
Planning, resource management and scheduling tools that are purpose-built for the healthcare sector are now widely available and making it easier for aged care providers to manage day-to-day challenges. The right tools can offer immense benefits for aged care providers, including:
- Improved visibility: Many aged providers use disparate systems to manage their clients, employees, services, financials and reporting, which can make it hard to get a single view of the business. Consolidating this information into a single tool makes it much easier to understand and assess business operations – which is the first step in increasing efficiency.
- Streamlined reporting: Too often, aged care providers lose valuable time and effort reconciling data and collating reports from multiple sources. An integrated view of business activity simplifies reporting, enabling aged care providers to meet compliance obligations and facilitate timely decision-making.
- Knowing your customer: In a consumer-centred aged care market, providers need to truly understand their consumers to attract and retain them. Case management tools that make it easy to see consumers’ likes and dislikes, preferred support workers and support needs can be a huge asset.
- Effective scheduling: Managing a large, mobile and shift-based workforce can be tough, but good scheduling tools give you confidence that the right workers are in the right place at the right time. Leading tools have intelligent scheduling to help workers reduce travel time, increase efficiency and match employees to the right jobs given their qualifications, experience and work history.
- Streamlining claims: The faster a provider lodges a claim with government, the faster they get paid. Leading scheduling tools provide all the information you need about a job to lodge a claim (including details of care recipients, service delivered and client signatures) and integrates with invoicing systems to make claiming easy.
- Higher satisfaction: User friendly and easy-to-use technology that facilitates high-quality service delivery is a sure-fire way to win over clients and employees alike. It makes it easier for staff to do their jobs and ensures that clients receive the services they need in a time, place and manner that suits them.
How Skedulo can help
Skedulo is the best-of-breed platform for intelligent mobile workforce management, with a focus on scheduling, rostering, mobile workers and associated reporting and analytics. It offers intelligent healthcare scheduling tools to manage home healthcare delivery, appointment scheduling, advanced analytics and more. To find out more about how Skedulo can help your organisation, contact us today.