How Flexible Aged Care Software Can Help You Adapt

If there is one thing you can bank on in life, it is change. The same rule applies for business and the aged care industry is no exception. In fact, you could argue that the aged care industry will change as much as any other in the years to come.

Changes to legislation, life expectancy, living standards, and our population will all have an impact on how operators of residential aged care, independent living and community care organisations operate their businesses in the years ahead. Therefore, if your organisation has not yet started to plan for the future, then you might run the risk of being left behind.

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Posted by Lee Robbins, Senior Product Manager, Senior Living Solutions, Epicor Software

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As it stands, more than one million people receive aged care services in Australia and it is a safe bet that this number will grow. With growth in demand, you can expect increased competition, which is why it is important to identify how your organisation will position itself to best tackle whatever the future throws at it. 

Doing so calls for agile business systems, a solid plan, and flexible aged care software. 

Industry changes

The Australian Government Aged Care Financing Authority's 2015 report on Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector, highlights that through the maturing of the residential aged care industry, a growing portion of providers are looking to increase the scale of their operations which is resulting in a consolidation of the industry providers. 

The report found that while the number of residential aged care places is increasing, the number of provider's is slightly decreasing. Therefore, your organisation will likely feel the impact either as part of such a consolidation, or through the competitive forces it creates.

The report also states that of the 189,283 operational residential care places in Australia at 30 June 2014, 22 percent of these were with providers that have more than 20 homes, despite these larger providers only accounting for two percent of all providers.

If such a trend were to continue, the smaller organisations who have not planned for such a market shift might struggle to adapt to the varying competitive impacts that could come their way.

Maintaining agility through flexible aged care software 

Regardless of what your business plans are, you will need to retain a strong level of flexibility and agility if you are going to compete in a market that is likely to experience such significant change.

To help you identify some important factors to consider when evaluating your aged care software's flexibility, I have broken down three key elements below.

Flexible deployment options
Not every organisation has the same needs, which is why the best deployment model is the one that works best for your organisation. Whether you choose to move your aged care software to the cloud or not, your organisation should use a system that has the flexibility to grow and change with you. 

For example, if your organisation has limited internal IT resources, you may choose to deploy your aged care software in the cloud, yet as your organisation grows and changes you may feel it is appropriate to redeploy on premises. It is valuable to have that flexibility and choice.

Flexible work practices
Increasingly, organisations today recognise that work is what you do, not where you go. Adopting mobility is important as it allows aged care organisations to be more effective. 

Whether it is enabling your on-site staff to be productive while away from their desk, or facilitating for staff to work from home, it is important that your organisation finds new ways of being productive at times where you may traditionally not have conceived it was possible.

Aside from the productivity gains, providing flexible work practices is also important from a HR perspective, as the modern employee is being conditioned to expect employers to offer such options.  

Flexible billing capabilities
Flexibility, as much as anything else, is about efficiency, which naturally should extend to functionality such as billing rent, special services, daily care fees and other charges.

Speaking for our own service offering, the Epicor Senior Living Solution (SLS) allows for organisations to change and add to the billing codes attached to the billing schedule as well as assign several billing schedules to a client accommodation combination. The Epicor SLS can also automatically calculate subsidies for re-imbursement from Medicare.

If your aged care software can provide functionality such as this, then it allows for more efficient and effective billing function and an improved user experience for your employees.

Preparing for the unknown

When your organisation adopts an effective, flexible aged care software platform, it is equipping itself with a valuable tool that can allow the business to then execute its plans to their full potential.

While it would be nice to have a crystal ball to truly know what the future has in store for us, you can be sure to expect that there will be changes ahead. The organisations that are flexible enough to adapt will be those that are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. 

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