An opportunity for software providers? Just 32% of aged care providers rate their software ‘better than average’, says StewartBrown

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Only 41% rated their reporting capability as ‘better than average’, a survey by StewartBrown has found – a result labelled “alarming” by the accounting firm.

StewartBrown Partner David Sinclair said the results, which surveyed 111 respondents, were “rather alarming”.

“This means there is a great deal of improvement out there available to be levered by software providers on software applications,” he said.

Asked for areas of improvement, 43 providers said they wanted to replace or update their software while 38 said they wanted better integration.

“It is clear providers are not happy with their current software applications, particularly the integration of software packages,” David added.

Analysis of the use of core software applications also showed many smaller providers (earning less than $20 million a year in revenue) were using MYOB and Xero for finance, despite these applications not being well integrated with packages.

Many were also still using specialist packages for residential and home care, which also have little integration with these finance applications.

As businesses scaled up, there was a wider diversity and integration of applications, with fewer differences in clinical care software between smaller, mid-size and larger providers.

40% of providers are also still utilising Excel to meet reporting requirements.

“This poses a risk from the point of view of accuracy, errors and so forth due to formula errors and also in efficiencies due to double-handling,” David said.

Larger providers are staring to move towards data warehousing, but this is still a relatively new practice, David added.

“This is likely to be the future of data reporting for aged care providers, particularly as there is an increased reporting requirement for Government and the public in relation to information generated in regards to different programs, such as clinical programs, Quality Indicators and financial information.”

Smaller operators especially complained about the lack of reporting tools.

There are also few applications that integrate well, the survey concluded, leaving providers at risk of inefficiencies and compliance issues.

An opportunity then for software providers to improve their offering to the sector?