Aged Care Royal Commission: the need for innovation

The Royal Commission has shined a spotlight on the sector and presents some unprecedented challenges for aged care providers.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established last year in order to examine how older people are cared for and determine what needs to change to improve aged care services.  This is a result of over 5,000 submissions received from aged care consumers, families, carers, and industry stakeholders.

How will the Royal Commission affect the industry?

The Royal Commission will present recommendations only, rather than binding conclusions as in a court litigation process. Despite this, the impacts will still have massive consequences on the industry’s future. Resulting public scrutiny may present the following challenges for providers:

  1. Compliance and public relations costs – such as marketing and administrative expenses
  2. Increased media scrutiny (particularly negative coverage)
  3. Potential for lower occupancy rates
  4. Need for greater communication with stakeholders, both internally and externally

What does this mean for providers?

Australian Aged Care providers will need to think and act innovatively in order to pivot and grow stronger from the Commission’s findings. Providers must find smarter and more efficient ways to deliver superior aged care. Specifically, innovation needs to occur within the following categories:

  1. Customer experience – improve the customer’s experience during the entire process, from enquiring about a service, to receiving care.
  2. Products and services – discover new products and services, or combinations of existing products and services.
  3. Operations – improve the efficiency and effectiveness of care delivery.
  4. Business model/strategy – evaluate the direction your organisation can move towards to unlock new value.

So far, outcomes of innovation in these areas include:

  • Creation of human-centred business models and care strategies
  • Digital applications to supplement and improve care activities

The Royal Commission is a wakeup call to the aged care industry, which needs to embrace innovation at an operational level in order to meet the needs and demands of the growing ageing population, whilst also meeting quality control measures.

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