These days, aged care organisations must invest in information technology tools and solutions across the business, writes industry expert Jennene Buckley in the fifth article in this series.

Priority 5: Undertake a digital transformation

An aged care organisation’s investment in information technology has moved from a nice to-have extra to an organisational imperative. 

There are three major factors that have impacted the need for organisations to futureproof their organisation with a comprehensive digital transformation strategy.

Firstly, our industry has been faced with extraordinary and challenging circumstances due to the pandemic and the absolute need to fast track options to coordinate, and where possible, provide virtual options for care and support. This shift in virtual care and virtual operating environments will continue to influence future service models.

Secondly, we have the technology-driven new normal dictated by the government’s aged care reform agenda, which impacts on all aged care providers’ IT systems – finance, human resources information, clinical, client management, consumer experience and quality, risk and business intelligence systems. There is a need for greater reporting and transparency, more efficient operations, higher standards of care and clinical systems, and improved staff and client experience.

An obvious starting point for an IT strategy is to gain insights from your clients and staff.

And thirdly, we cannot forget the digitalisation of our world today. Many technology innovations maturing at once, such as artificial intelligence/AI, big data/analytics, the internet of things, 3D printing and cognitive computing, which aged care leaders will use to reinvent and transform their operations and service offerings to gain competitive advantage. 

Where do you start?

An obvious starting point for an IT strategy is to gain insights from your clients and staff. To understand the moments that matter in their journey with your organisation, the pain points and opportunities for improvement and innovation. This will lead to:

  1. envisioning your future state client journey, service models and strategy
  2. considering external factors, including the reform requirements and broader technology trends
  3. crafting your IT blueprint
  4. engaging with key stakeholders on the blueprint, priorities and financial commitment
  5. developing a detailed implementation roadmap
  6. identifying your success matrix and monitoring the roadmap implementation.

In gaining advice on this topic from former Feros Care chief information officer Glenn Payne, who is now director of Three Digital, he provided security, continuity and the cloud as three key areas for aged care providers to consider when developing a digital transformation strategy.

Cyber security

While digital transformation is a must for every care provider in Australia to survive, no one can stop thinking about the importance of cyber security and data protection. While your business is transforming, it is important to ensure your clients’ information and your financial data is secure.

Business continuity

Rapid change needs to be balanced with equal attention to business continuity. We have all learnt that over the last few years. One thing is for sure, we live in times of digital transformation as well as social and environmental transformation. Make sure your business continuity plan is updated and tested as your business transforms. 

Cloud clutter

While it may be easier than ever to access cloud-based technology, this opens the possibility of cloud clutter. Having a robust cloud and digital strategy enables your business to select applications that use things like single sign on and two factor authentication (2FA) and talk to each other for better data sharing and insights.

Be sure to have a solid cloud risk assessment tool to ensure the digital products meet your technology security and data standards. It is not the most exciting part of digital transformation, but it can save your business integration issues, time and money.

Jennene Buckley is founding partner at Enkindle Consulting, which provides business advisory, strategic and operational planning, and transformation service to the aged care sector.

Read next: Understand your costs

Read previous: Reimagine your services

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Jennene Buckley

Founding partner at Enkindle consulting

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