In Australia, a program being rolled out nationwide is designed to give people who live with a disability the support they need. The objective of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is to help propel these Australians to live full lives, pursue their goals, be independent, fully engage in the workplace, and actively take part in the community.
The NDIS, which is separate from the Disability Support Pension, is poised to fund support and services for 460,000 Australians under the age of 65. This is the first national program for individuals with disabilities that continues to connect them to community and government services that they may previously not have been able to afford or access.
It’s certainly a noble, and overdue, effort that will clearly have an impact on families and on the fabric of communities by bringing people with disabilities greater social and economic independence.
It also adds a new dimension to how these people choose and use care service organisations.
A different start to the consumer ‘journey’
Previously, people with disabilities sought support from the Department of Ageing and Aged Care. But the government has adjusted its approach and instead has formed the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to help those up until the age of 65 – prior to transitioning into aged care. And that agency is now implementing the NDIS.
When it comes to accessing care, the consumer “journey” if you will begins at the NDIA. There they are individually assessed and assigned a quite prescriptive package including the amount of funding, services available, and an overall care plan.
With this package in hand, people with disabilities are free to find whichever home care or other support organizations they wish. They will likely be looking for those in their community that seem the best fit to manage their package and deliver their services.
New opportunities for care organisations
For organisations, the NDIS clearly presents new opportunities, directions and challenges for the coming years. While it is spurring growth and investments in the health care sector, it is also creating new considerations for how best to manage this new consumer-directed approach to care.
That’s where technology becomes each organisation’s most trusted ally.
Antiquated legacy solutions or even paper-based administration will quickly become a hindrance to staying competitive in the NDIS landscape. To make sure you are primed and ready to seize these new opportunities, start by considering these six questions when it comes to evaluating your organisation’s current capabilities.
- Can my current system generate NDIS contracts and care programs?
Let’s start with a fairly obvious question: can your organisation support NDIS clients in its current configuration? It’s imperative that the right electronic solutions and online portals are in place to provide an efficient and transparent way to collect and manage information.
These solutions must be accessible in one platform that is compatible and flexible. A growing organisation should ideally have in place one technological suite rather than several systems cobbled together over time. This will open the window to NDIS with improved organization, lower costs and streamlined data analysis and reporting.
Can we fulfill contracts and efficiently manage services?
Technology has been changing the care service industry at a breathtaking pace. How modern is your system? Confidently managing NDIS services may hinge on your answer.
On one hand, innovations such as telehealth capabilities, remote patient monitoring and video conferencing are making the delivery of care accessible and efficient for clients.
Yet modernization also means that an organisation is able to deliver client-centric care plans (a major ongoing focus in Australia) that are integrated across the continuum of care. It also means that managing claims – which can quickly become a spot of backlog – is as seamless as possible.
And for NDIS, it also means that more discreet but important elements, such as linking NDIS numbers to services rendered right in the system, is automated and accurate.
Can we easily upload claims to the NDIS portal?
It’s important to consider the artery between your back end system and the NDIS portal. Needless to say, being free of blockages is key. Whatever software platform you choose, ensure that it is interoperable with the NDIS portal.
To avoid making claims a time-thief process, it’s best to have a process that is plug-and-play with built-in form fields that make exporting and uploading claims as quick as possible.
Is our scheduling ability up to the task?
Key to fluid operations, engaged employees, and satisfied clients is coordinated NDIS care and effectively scheduled staff. Those client visits must be smooth, with minimal time spent travelling for staff, and on-time visits for those you serve. When you consider if your organisation is prepared for NDIS claims, be sure that you have optimised scheduling in place.
Advanced algorithms can now create the most efficient schedules and routes, determine which workers can perform visits in the best order on the best days, improve continuity and quality of care and even analyze staffing inefficiencies to avoid any potential snafus with capacity to meet demand.
There is tremendous value is getting scheduling down to a science. At AlayaCare, for instance, we have found that schedule and route optimisation has reduced overall travel time for staff by up to 30 per cent.
Can we budget accordingly, recording expenses and services provided?
Most home care organisations aren’t well positioned to accommodate the shift to self-directed care models due to lack of transparency and inadequate data management tools. Software that defines income vs expenses for a client, as well as group incomes by program and allows everything from sources to fees to be defined for each can revolutionize tracking and automate the balancing of budgets.
Similarly, many organisations are bogged down with multiple solutions or spreadsheets to keep track of individualized budgets or client care packages. If your budget modules are fully integrated within a platform, it makes workflows efficient while reducing data entry. This eliminates the need to recreate similar budgets for different clients, which is time consuming and unnecessary.
Today’s technology enables you to define budget templates that auto-populate new client budgets, freeing an administrative team to do more. Such budgeting solutions allow organisations to easily create an NDIS quote, manage identified services based on the contract, and claim to the portal with ease.
Are we hitting our performance targets?
In your organisation, are goals, outcomes and interventions easy to measure and report? Do you have in place key performance metrics and, if not, how long would it take for you to implement them?
If this question makes you do a long exhale, then you may not yet be well-positioned to evolve with NDIS requirements. Dated software solutions and spreadsheets that need to be updated and pulled manually don’t measure (no pun intended) up to today’s leading AI tools. Today’s modern technology gives employees immediate access to necessary data, and offers a holistic view of operation pain points that can be strategically repaired at any point in time.
Australia is making the right decision in supporting the needs of adults with disabilities for whom retirement is well into the future. Organisations can make the right decisions as well on how to support these new clients, by ensuring the house is in order and that all systems are a go.
AlayaCare is a leading home care software company in Australia that offers a flexible, modern solution to help take organisations into the future however processes and procedures may change.