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Thursday, December 7, 2023

How digital transformation can lead to a better aged care system

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By Michael Ivanchenko

Reports of abuse, neglect and substandard care have plagued Australia’s aged care system, and knowing providers are meeting regulations and standards that are in place to protect some of our most vulnerable has never been more important.

In 2021, the royal commission into aged care found “the aged care system is well behind other sectors in the use and application of technology”, and undoubtedly modernising compliance systems through digital transformation will lead to much-needed improvement in the sector.

Aged care workforce compliance is becoming increasingly more complex as legislators move to improve standards of quality, safety and care through further regulation.

Digital transformation throughout Australia’s aged care industry can help create outcomes that connect, automate and modernise the system.

Organisations that are still attempting to manage compliance through spreadsheets or a paper-based approach face an impossible task.

Challenges with spreadsheets include a higher risk of human error in data entry, standalone systems that don’t integrate with each other, no centralised source of data, a lack of transparency, and an inability to automate time-consuming manual processes.

Utilising digital technologies can help find efficiencies or deficiencies and generate data for decision making.

These include things like screening of staff, certification checks, safety inductions, workforce management, communication and care applications.

By getting rid of tedious tasks and freeing up staff to do work they deem important enables the care of our most vulnerable to be a provider’s primary focus.

A provider needs to regularly assess, monitor and review its workforce through an effective human resources system – which includes compliance management – and using spreadsheets is not the answer!

Benefits of digital transformation include:

  • Efficiency: Possible improvements include automated alerts and renewals, automated document collection, employee self-service portals, fast on-boarding and pre-boarding leading to reduced time-to-start, portable credentials between jobs to reduce duplication, and the ability to view workers’ compliance status at a glance.
  • Data quality: Repetitive data entry makes people susceptible to mistakes, which can be costly to rectify. Shifting to a digital system with automated data collection will reduce errors, improve the quality of data, and (importantly) enables the leadership team to make confident decisions that the underlying data is correct.
  • Automation: Automated notifications prompt aged care staff to complete compliance tasks in a self-service portal, reducing the burden on HR in terms of onboarding, inductions, and document collection.
  • Scalability: Digital platforms can easily scale from a single team to thousands of workers across different aged care facilities.
  • Transparency: Using a digital platform takes data out of silos such as spreadsheets and emails and brings them into a centralised, accessible system. It prevents compliance breaches and creates an audit trail that is invaluable when investigating incidents and accidents.
  • Analytics: Digital platforms can generate custom reports for data-driven insights that would have taken several days of work using spreadsheets. Analytics enables data visualisation that can help users spot trends at a glance, see areas of risk, and spot data anomalies that may have been hard to see in a lengthy spreadsheet. Data analytics enables better quality decisions, optimises aged care performance, drives continuous improvement, reduces risk, and offers new opportunities.
  • Integration: Tech-savvy aged care organisations use a sophisticated technology stack approach to HR management comprising several systems to streamline, optimise and support HR functions across recruitment, engagement, collaboration, and performance. Data must flow seamlessly between the different components of the tech stack, which is where an API comes in. Good digital platforms have a ‘Checks as a service API’ ready-built for integration with off the shelf and bespoke HRIS (Human Resources Information System) platforms.
  • Security: Although spreadsheets have some security features such as password protection and cell locking, they do not have the security and data protection needed to protect sensitive information, including workforce compliance data. Security and data protection tools must protect your business and its information. Privacy and security must be guaranteed by complying with Australian privacy legislation and GDPR and be ISO 27001 certified for peace of mind.

The best way aged care providers can feel more assured they truly “know their people” is to sign up to an online platform allowing for real-time compliance monitoring of employees.

About Michael Ivanchenko

Michael is the CEO of CVCheck, an ASX-listed company, offering screening and verification services to a wide range of industries including aged care, mining and resources, oil and gas, recruitment, banking, financial services, health and education. Cited is an online platform which is part of CVCheck, allowing for real-time compliance monitoring of employees. The OnCite app is available to download on Apple and Android devices, allowing Cited data to be accessed on the go.

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