Australia’s changing demographics indicate that there are currently around half a million people aged 85 and over, but note that number will rise rapidly to more than 1.5 million by 2058 – almost 4 per cent of the population.
Aged care providers deliver services – residential and in-home – to more than 1.3 million people and represent a multi-billion-dollar sector of the economy, employing hundreds of thousands of paid workers and tens of thousands of volunteers. It is a vitally important industry – never more so than during a pandemic – and also an industry facing significant scrutiny with the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recently delivering its final report.
Anglicare is a leading provider of services for more than 5,000 people – both residential and through its Anglicare At Home service which supports 4,000 older Australians in their own homes and its care centres.
Like others in the sector, Anglicare has had to navigate the impact of COVID-19, review its operations to ensure compliance with increasingly stringent regulation and growing public scrutiny, manage tight budgets and staffing constraints, while ensuring a high-quality service.
To streamline operations Anglicare has worked with Microsoft and partner, Velrada, to deploy Microsoft Dynamics 365 to support its people, collect data for operational and strategic decision making and deliver end-to-end visibility of the services it provides to clients and their families.
What was clear to Marcela Carrasco, General Manager for Anglicare At Home, was that the organisation – which has a workforce that works remotely, often in people’s own homes, – needed a system that provided workers with autonomy but kept them connected to Anglicare.
An array of legacy technology that had been “glued together” was no longer fit for purpose, leading Anglicare to seek an alternative.
An extensive tendering process identified Microsoft Dynamics 365 as the best platform for the organisation, and working with Velrada, it has deployed Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Field Service and Power Apps to support Anglicare At Home’s operations.
Carrasco explains that ensuring employees have access to the information they need at the point of care has been critical to the success of the project. That was brought into focus during the pandemic when Anglicare needed to also ensure the safety of its people as they moved around the community.
Care Workers use a Power App to view on phones and tablets to schedule jobs, detail tasks, check service locations and access supporting maps and indicative travel times.
Care Workers can pick up jobs and the App suggests the best route to service location. Once on-site they are able to sign-in and perform agreed services. The App also suggests client protocols for emergencies, delays and, medications.
Before designing and deploying the system, Anglicare asked its staff about their needs, the pain points they experienced, and what would help them do their job well and also resonate with the strong cultural frameworks Anglicare promotes. That discussion identified 400 use cases which were used to frame the requirements for the tender response.
According to Carrasco; ”Some of the things that are really important for us are being able to have a single view of the customer. To be able to really connect all of our staff back to the client so that we can deliver on that personalised experience that we’re seeking to deliver each and every time. Making sure that there’s the right information for people; creating seamlessness through that. Making sure that we’re able to create collaboration amongst our teams and, again, that ability to connect and to build and enhance that customer experience.”
Applying a data lens to the challenge, Jerry Lui, Anglicare’s IT Transformation Manager notes the importance of leveraging Dynamics 365 to break open silos of data across the organisation to ensure that the right level of information was available about clients to support carers and the behind-the-scenes scheduling team. The goal is to be able to provide a single customer view to the carer using this system.
Carrasco adds; “I can’t stress enough the need for seamlessness. Aged care is such a complex space, navigating the system, understanding what people are entitled to receive, what government subsidy is available. If we can take away some of the complexity, that’s what we’re aiming to do.”
Working with Microsoft and Velrada, Anglicare also developed a comprehensive change management program to ensure staff are equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to use the new platform.
Throughout the transformation Anglicare was seeking to automate processes as much as possible, and reduce the administrative burden so that teams could focus on their clients rather than be buried in paperwork.
“This isn’t a technology change for us, this is a transformation,” says Carrasco. Lui adds that the support from the broader Anglicare business has been a key to its success.
Ian Kirby, Delivery Director at Velrada says; “It has been a real privilege to support Anglicare as it has developed and deployed this solution – and to witness the impact that it is having on front line employees and also the people they are caring for.
Anglicare is partnering with Velrada to ensure the organisation’s Power BI strategy enhances the development of dashboards which will provide instant insights about the Anglicare At Home service to support strategic decision making across the organisation.
Sensitive information is protected through a combination of supporting security models and permissions associated with data masking, field security profiles and security roles. This mechanism extends to the Web, Mobile App and Portal.
Carrasco stresses that; “What’s important is to maximise the automation that is available through the field service solution.
“It’s much more than just efficiencies. It’s actually about experience. The information that is needed sometimes doesn’t get picked up in our care plan or in an assessment: we have a client who is particularly fond of her little dog. This is what she lives for.”
Carrasco adds; “When a care worker is able to read that in the system, then go into the home and actually talk to the dog before she even talks to the client it makes the world of difference. Those little intricacies actually show the client how much they’re valued. We want to be able to pick up on the tiny things or things that seem small, but make the world of difference and end up impacting care beyond just giving someone a shower or getting a meal for them.”
It’s the point at which providing a service transforms into genuine personalised care – a priority for Anglicare.
 https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/background_paper_2.pdf  https://agedcare.royalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/background_paper_2.pdf