The shift to the NDIS has put the onus on disability providers to become more customer-focused and to better manage costs. They now need an integrated technology solution that works hard for them and helps them to overcome these challenges.
Since the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), disability services organisations have faced many new challenges – namely the need to be more cost effective process driven, customer centric and compliant.
“The introduction of competition for providers is leading to more energy being put into the attraction and retention of customers as well as managing the cost of service delivery,” says Paul Grundy, Management Consulting, KPMG.
With pricing under the NDIS set by the National Disability Insurance Agency, organisations need to deliver quality services at a regulated cost. They must also collect and report data for compliance requirements.
“Many do not have effective ways of collecting the information they need to comply with those processes,” explains Douglas Daley, Associate Director, Management Consulting, KPMG.
Having the right technology solution will help organisations overcome these challenges, and be better placed for a sustainable future.
Grundy says: “If the UK is anything to go by, the pace of change and the need to differentiate yourself in the market through technology will become more important.”
Much of the technology used by disability service providers was developed for the pre-NDIS model of yesterday, and is less focused on helping with cost efficiencies and understanding the customer.
Now, organisations need integrated, adaptable and automated systems that work hard for them, and seamlessly operate across all devices. KPMG has chosen to work with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to build a Disability sector specific solution, due to its vast scale and ability to be flexible to the specific needs of different industries and organisations.
Daley says: “We take the most adaptable technology that solves similar problems in other industries, and configure it to be specific to disability services.”
To be competitive in this new environment, providers need all aspects from back office operations through to client facing staff working seamlessly.
Grundy explains: “The cost pressures require that the service they agree with the provider is digitised and flows through from the front office to the back office. The technology drives the scheduling in terms of what services the customer needs, the rostering and the location, through to the confirmation of the service delivery and feedback.”
Finding and retaining good support workers, and optimising staff efficiently, is essential in a world where the customer has choice.
“You might pay a support worker for a full shift, but if they have only seen one customer, the economics don’t work out. So the ability to effectively utilise support workers is a key financial driver,” Grundy says.
Daley adds: “Some organisations gather spreadsheets from every location to create a snapshot of that information for an annual planning cycle. We help them have a constant view of that in real time.”
To remain competitive, providers must know their customers well, and tailor competitive services to their needs. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology can help organisations to gather appropriate information on their customers so that they can ensure they have the services and staff to meet demand.
“It is going to the next level of insight – diving into things like understanding what the potential future pipeline for customers looks like, and being able to make workforce decisions based on that,” Daley says.
There’s an extra benefit to having customer centric technology – helping the customers to have more control.
“Customers want to know, ‘How can I have more choice about who services me? How can I have advance notice that they’re going to be late? How can I provide feedback to improve the quality of service?’” Daley says.
Grundy says that when the technology is right, clever ideas for how to use it to better service customers will follow.
“Making the right technology choices now will give them a springboard to start leveraging innovation to really give their customers more independence,” Grundy says.
A unique aspect of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the ability to embed goals to optimise the focus of staff.
Daley adds: “For example the goal of the customer may be to become more involved in the community, and to achieve that they may need to learn to catch public transport. To work towards that, the next task could be to learn to buy a bus ticket, and we can embed that goal achievement process into the technology.”
For compliance reporting to the NDIS, the right technology can make the process so much simpler.
“Taking notes about the care delivered by support workers, and the collection of that information, has a material impact on the customer, as a lot of funding is now evidence based,” Daley says.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365, that information can be captured, consolidated and automatically provided to the right recipients to save hours of administration time.
Grundy says: “There are opportunities to provide more structure in the short term, and in the long term there is opportunity to use cognitive technologies to extract the right information and assist management in the assessment of progress notes.”
Daley recommends that Disability Services organisations work with an implementation partner to try and test solutions. Starting with a small problem is ideal, before making more improvements.
“One organisation had two people answering all enquiries, and we worked with them to distribute that role across the organisation. As it decentralised, they needed a way of tracking who was enquiring, and what they were enquiring about.
“We started with the customer acquisition problem, and structured the implementation in a way that we can incrementally deploy new capabilities to them, and help them understand them before moving on to the next.”
Organisations that adopt an integrated IT solution will be better able to balance costs, improve efficiencies, cater to the needs of their customers, optimise their workforce, and ensure they are compliant.
“They are set up to integrate with the world, both on the provider side and with the workforce, in order to have real visibility of their customers’ needs and how effective their workforce is, and then adapt their organisation to those changing needs,” Daley says.