Glenview Community Services, a Tasmanian-based Aged Care provider, is proving that now is the time for the industry to embrace technology and progress towards a digital future.
In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Glenview sought out digital tools to track their workforces' health status and increase the safety and wellbeing of their residents. As a member of Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), they were introduced to a free offering by MyPass® Global to use their digital workforce management platform. MyPass®, an Australian owned software company, had been collaborating with ACSA to promote their COVID-19 solution to the Aged Care industry, free of charge.
Lucy O’Flaherty, CEO of Glenview Community Services, says that it had been a rapid-fire learning curve for their organisation, having to immediately adapt processes to support the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff.
She said, “The great thing about MyPass® has been that at a time when we were very quickly trying to get our heads around understanding the status of our staff, and what kind of mechanisms were easily accessible to get quick information, MyPass® came up… It was an offering that was put out to the industry and we took it and it’s been amazing.”
Glenview, like many Aged Care providers in Australia, employs a broad diversity of staff with various cultural backgrounds and levels of IT literacy. This presented a number of challenges for management, who had to onboard existing staff to new software systems whilst trying to track who had been potentially exposed to the virus during time off.
Ms O’Flaherty said, “Given we were accessing MyPass® on laptops, PC’s & phones, as we couldn’t do face to face training, it was great to have the online resources and videos and things like that to be able to support staff to take up MyPass®… It was a really useful tool to quickly assess if they had been in contact and the time frame in terms of when they’d been overseas. It was a quick snapshot tool for us to go okay, we’re all good.”
With the health status of over 300 staff to screen, Ms O’Flaherty says MyPass® was a great early intervention tool that allowed them to get visibility on their workforce very quickly, instead of taking days or weeks to organise the paperwork.
Glenview have shown a progressive approach to the COVID-19 crisis, embracing the opportunity to utilise technology like MyPass® and accelerate their transition to digital processes.
She said, “The silver lining that’s come out of COVID is it’s fast-tracked a lot of innovation, it’s enabled us to jump onto digital platforms, it’s forced us to use electronic mechanisms rather than traditional systems. In my experience, Aged Care is a fantastic industry but it’s an industry that has a slightly slower uptake than the general commercial industry… that’s forced our hand which is a good thing.”
The challenging position that Aged Care providers have been placed in has sparked conversations about how else they can adopt new technologies. Meanwhile, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality & Safety in Australia is still continuing, with public submissions closing on 31 July 2020. For Glenview, their discussions have been informed by the capabilities of platforms like MyPass®, beyond just their COVID-19 solution, as the timeline for moving into a digital space has been advanced by many years and opened their eyes to what can be augmented.
“The MyPass® opportunity has enabled us to move into a space where we’re now using electronic concierge systems and we’re moving towards facial recognition software. It has enabled us to get into the headspace of, well if we have to do this and the opportunity is now, how can we make the most of this opportunity?”
Another challenge for Aged Care providers throughout this period has been the mandating of compulsory Influenza Vaccinations for anyone wishing to enter an Australian aged care facility. This applies to staff, contractors, visitors, and residents, and requires them to be able to produce evidence of those vaccinations if required. For small to medium-sized providers like Glenview, who don’t have large corporate departments to manage the administrative burden of collating this kind of information, digital tools like MyPass® can save hours of extra, manual work for the staff.
“We’ve got the list of who’s had the flu vacs, we’ve got the MyPass® data set, and we were able to marry them really quickly. Again it was a time saver, it wasn’t something we had to go looking into various different pools of the HR system and then the health system and all of that, it was a way of aligning the data really quickly.”
“For smaller organisations, I know myself, we weren’t necessarily the most advanced technological organisation previously, we’ve come out of the dark ages and it’s given us a chance to embrace technology.”
The future of Aged Care in Australia will be largely dependent on its ability to fill the approximately 78, 000 positions required over the next decade. This increase in the need for Aged Care workers can be supported by the adoption of new technologies. Ms O’Flaherty considers it to be an opportunity “to make some tasks easier to help us track, trace, to prioritise… I think that’s the opportunity that has come through COVID.”
If Australian software developers and technologies are able to collaborate with the Aged Care sector then finding a solution to future challenges is viable. Ms O’Flaherty believes this collaboration is vital to not only develop technology that is intelligent, but to create technology that is practical and makes a genuine difference.
“If I’m honest, that’s often the bit that’s missing and often the reason why we don’t adopt technologically early, because it’s reported to be fit for purpose but it misses the nuances of Aged Care. It’s not a cookie-cutter industry, we all do things slightly differently and we need different ways of making our data integrate, make sense or allowing it to enhance what we do.”
This is a great example of different levels of industry collaborating to adapt and quickly solve a problem that is impacting an entire sector. With ACSA as the Industry Body, MyPass® developing new technology, and Glenview providing a direct service, each stakeholder has contributed to a better outcome for residents of Australian Aged Care.
Ms O’Flaherty confirmed this point, saying, “I think MyPass® has been fantastic and we’ve certainly recommended it to colleagues that asked. It was fantastic that ACSA was able to put this opportunity forward as a membership opportunity, if it hadn’t come through ACSA, we wouldn’t have picked it up.”