Aged care providers face new challenges as a result of the Royal Commission

The Aged Care sector is facing new challenges in the wake of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The commission, which was established in October 2018, was tasked with investigating aged care services in Australia and identifying areas for improvement. A number of Aged Care service providers came under scrutiny, and in their final report, the Royal Commissioner presented 148 wide-ranging recommendations for reforming the sector. This now presents a challenge for providers who must work to improve the quality of their operations and demonstrate compliance with standards outlined by the commission.
Meeting the diverse needs of Australia’s ageing population has long been challenging for Aged Care providers who need to balance complex client conditions with workforce capabilities and availability in an industry that’s economically driven, yet highly regulated. The Royal Commission’s final report acknowledged these challenges while asking Aged Care providers to rethink how they operate.

One of the challenges for the Aged-Care sectors is the efficient reporting and analysis of data. Unlike many other organisations where there is a single platform that has 80% of the transactions going through that one system, unfortunately, in an Aged Care setting, that’s never been the case. The mismatch of procedures and systems which aren’t connected present difficulties when preparing current and cohesive reporting for all aspects of a provider’s operations. It also impacts ACFI assessments and funding. It’s often been left to IT staff and administrators to pull data from different areas such as payroll, rostering information, clinical information, safety information and more, to then attempt to combine this into a unified environment. The result? A considerable challenge and time consuming process.

What’s become clearly apparent is the need to take a holistic look at the entire Aged Care environment, the discrete segments within it, and how to implement a single overarching platform that can manage it all efficiently. With separate and unconnected systems managing clinical data, rostering data, payroll information, and finance all impacting the same clients, the lack of central data points results in decision-making that is unlikely to be best informed or responsive to emerging needs.

financial reporting systems

Payroll is a classic example of this. Implementing the recommendations in relation to care-hours can seem like an arduous task when balancing staffing budgets that are already a pain point for many providers. Typically, payroll and rostering are spread across separate systems. When you set up a budget, you set up a roster on payroll and then put it in your monthly P&Ls. However, if your wages are exceeding budget, drilling into this requires reviewing data from a payroll system which is on a fortnightly basis and based on individuals, rather than roles. With separate systems handling each data set it’s already difficult for many providers to map budgeted wages against the subsequent operational workforce expense, let alone implement and report on the Commission’s recommendations to ensure appropriate care hours per resident/client.

The business of operating as an Aged Care provider must still take profitability into account and, as such, any such solution must offer a clear return on investment. The economics of having a platform that brings together the business intelligence aspects, data analytics, as well as the budgeting and planning elements saves somebody having to spend 2, 3, or even 5 days gathering this information from different sources and preparing a report that can be presented to management or the board is undoubtedly the most logical way forward.

Aged Care providers must now work diligently to improve the quality of their operations and demonstrate compliance with standards set by the commission, all while meeting the diverse needs of Australia’s ageing population. It’s a tall order, but with the right solutions in place, it is achievable. If you would like to find out more about how LightArc can help you meet these compliance requirements, please get in touch. We’d be more than happy to discuss how we can help you identify and implement the ideal solution for your organisation.

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