More effective communication and reporting are among the benefits of switching to a new cloud-based digital platform, an aged care executive tells Australian Ageing Agenda.

Aged care provider Southern Cross Care SA, NT & Vic partnered with Google 18 months ago to replace its digital systems with the Google Cloud Platform as part of its information and communication technology (ICT) strategic plan.

The implementation includes end-user computing systems and business intelligence systems.

Southern Cross Care SA, NT & Vic head of ICT and business transformation Chris Balogi said the platform has allowed the organisation to improve its day-to-day operations.

“Our digital transformation has enabled us to connect in a much better way to all of our staff and all of our clients,” Mr Balogi told AAA.

“With our datasets going into Google Cloud, we’ve been able to deliver dashboards and information back to the business very effectively. We’ve also been using all of the Google Workspace tools including Google Meet, which we have leveraged within our residential facilities,” he said.

Google Meets enables families and residents to remain connected during lockdowns and allows staff to connect with each other quickly, Mr Balogi said.

Chris Balogi

“We are able to utilise that for virtual doctor sessions, so preventing doctors travelling between sites. They’re able to communicate using the Google Meets video conferencing solution,” he said.

“We are also able to record information in a live and real-time way and push that information back to the sites and back to staff who need it to make quick decisions.

“For things like audit reports and accreditation, [staff] are able to produce information very quickly now, which frees up staff. Instead of trying to run manual reports, it frees them up to give personal care,” Mr Balogi said.

Previously SCC SA, NT & VIC was using a mixture of disparate systems, databases and tools.

“[There was] siloed data sitting on database servers that had to have static reports to run. We had an end-user thin client environment where staff didn’t have access to the full dataset. We had very little technology serving our clients,” Mr Balogi said.

The organisation made the switch because “we recognised digital transformation is a key enabler,” he said.

“For us, we could have reached a point where we were starting to implement tools into our facilities and into our working environments but we weren’t able to leverage some of the information coming from those.

Peter Ferguson

“We needed to take that leap into transforming our business from just having ad hoc tools around to a more strategic approach of how do we leverage that data, how do we bring it all together and then how do we deliver effective outcomes for our clients in a more robust and standard way right across our business?” Mr Balogi said.

SCC SA, NT & Vic group manager, marketing and client experience Peter Ferguson said the organisation’s digital transformation was ongoing.

“From an internal communications perspective, we’re looking at rebuilding our intranet on the Google site,” Mr Ferguson told AAA.

“We’re looking at the Google current platform as an internal social network for our staff to help get them engaged in talking to one another in a casual and informal way and sharing content, which will help us ultimately to promote services and bring in more clients to the organisation.”

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