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11 / 06 / 2020

What leading edge technologies can do for the aged care experience.

We are all well aware of the fact we have an aging population in Australia. We eat better, live cleaner, and are grateful for the medical advances that have prolonged lives  through a deeper understanding of the human body, improved surgical procedures, and medicine (let’s park COVID-19 aside for the time being). 

When you look at the statistics stated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s older generation (those aged 65 and over) continues to grow year on year. 15% of Australians (3.7 million) were aged 65 and over in 2016, and the numbers are expected to grow to 22% (8.7 million) by 2056. 

So, while our overall health and lifespan has improved, this increase creates both pressures and opportunities for Australia’s health and welfare sectors.

Considerations around available housing, well equipped care facilities, the number of qualified aged care practitioners, and patient data management are just a drop in the ocean when trying to understand what the Government and Aged Care organisations must manage day-to-day.

Thankfully, we can look at advancements in technology to help ease some of the pressures, and at the same time, capitalise on the opportunities presented by having an aging population. From blockchain to AI, robotics to predictive analytics, it is exciting to think how technology will transform the lives of older people requiring care, and is already making waves in some organisations.

However, before any organisation considers implementing a move to leading-edge tech, it’s critical to get the basics right – to put themselves in the best position to serve their customers, and remain competitive. To get started, we need to understand how technology can help service providers free up unproductive time, to leave more time for caregiving. We need to identify what new, leading edge technologies can do for the care experience. 

Given all the recent changes in the aged care sector,  in order for organisations to survive and compete for market share, your organisation needs to deliver superb customer experiences while being as efficient as possible.  You won’t survive if you only focus on one of these objectives.

To realise these objectives requires an intentional program of transformation, with digital at the core.  But it’s not just about technology.  It’s also about:

  1. The customer – putting the customer truly at the centre of everything you do – this means eliminating siloed behaviour and viewing the customer as a whole.
  2. People – skills & capabilities, mindsets and behaviours.  Your people need to be involved in the journey and the change.  They have a lot of ideas, and they are key to enabling the transformation. When you honestly value your employees’ input, they are the ones that will make the processes come alive (along with the important enabling technologies).
  3. Management and leadership – transformation requires leadership, with new behaviours and working models being driven and exhibited from the top.  It also means engaging in different ways, collaborating across the entire organisation, new types of meetings/engagements, redefining meeting agendas and reporting parameters to reflect the new priorities and ways of thinking about success.
    • It’s a journey not a project.  Transformation requires time, energy, focus and investment.  It is critical to start with clarity around goals and metrics, so you can track your progress over time and ensure that each stage of the journey gets you closer to where you want to go.
    • That said, you can stage the journey and you don’t have to tackle everything upfront.  Laying solid foundations is key, so you can gradually realise an improved customer experience and efficiencies.  Each time you inch towards that elusive single view of your customers, ensure you are finding ways to make jobs simpler and more efficient. This can only be achieved through better processes, better tools and automation.

Now, let’s talk technology. It is imperative that aged care organisations move fast to get the foundations right so they can compete, grow and deliver new levels of service over time. But what do we mean by laying solid foundations so that you can deliver superb customer experiences while being as efficient as possible

Phase 1 is to implement the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which will enable you to understand your customers’ journeys. It will provide you with a holistic view of each customer and their needs over the course of their engagement with your organisation, so as their needs change, you are with them each step of the way – transitioning them smoothly and providing a personalised customer experience.

What this really comes down to is having a single view of the customer. One of our customers, Wesley Mission Queensland (WMQ), who has been on a transformational journey over the past four years, can attest to what it has meant to lay the right foundations.

“We have learnt that a single customer view requires us to think, plan, act and manage very differently. Implementing the right technology is just one element of the answer… we need to take a very different approach to how we design and manage our core customer-facing processes. We need to think carefully about the skills, capabilities and roles needed to manage aspects of the customer journey, and set up the management rhythms so we’re constantly thinking, talking and making decisions with a customer-first lens. It’s certainly hard work, and ultimately it requires a change in culture.

Selina Beauchamp, CIO at WMQ

Technological implementations to achieve operational efficiencies equates to organisational change, no matter what industry you are in. And buy-in is required across the entire organisation or your transformation will fall flat.

A great way to achieve buy-in across your organisation is to hone in on the metrics and data that will be visible once you implement the CRM. You need to ask your business leaders what insights are helpful and relevant in retaining and growing their specific business unit. 

That said, it’s not enough to just know which metrics to track, and to set up your systems architecture and processes to ensure those things can be measured. You also need to focus on data – data quality and data governance, so that meaningful metrics can actually be realised.

Here’s a quick example of what we mean:

Bringing all this to life requires a big focus on change management, as we’re asking people to think differently about their jobs and their roles, even talk a new language.

If your organisation needs to transform in order to better understand both your current and future customers, developing deeper insights into your existing data is a step in the right direction. But, please don’t fool yourself into thinking that a shiny new application or platform will hold all the answers – there is so much more to consider. 

Do your due diligence and engage a specialist partner who understands your organisation’s needs, can help you map your various customer journeys, and can integrate your systems so that you have one version of truth. 

If you are interested to learn more about how Loaded Technologies has worked hand-in-hand with Wesley Mission Queensland and other aged care providers to transform their customer experiences and gain data-driven insights, please get in contact with us today, or read through our success stories on our website.