Is the sector on the innovation curve?

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Innovation is key to operators remaining viable in a new, competitive market, says Novigi’s Ash Priest.

The aged care sector appears set for an innovation shake-up as operators are forced to become more efficient and better utilise their resources, predicts the Managing Partner of advisory and data services firm Novigi.

Previously a Partner at actuarial firm Rice Warner, Ash (pictured right) was introduced to the aged care sector five years ago by John Vohradsky, the Executive General Manager – Infrastructure & Technology at IRT.

Working together, the pair created solutions to deliver greater interoperability and a more robust data platform, work that was recognised with an Information Technology Across Care (ITAC) award.

Today, Novigi – ‘innovate’ in Esperanto – has developed a ‘blueprint architectural concept’ for aged care, working with providers to implement data, integration and automation solutions.

Sector not on the right path

Ash believes the concept of ‘innovation’ is much more than simply disruption – and the sector isn’t on the right path yet.

“I don’t necessarily think that the industry is on an innovation curve that is going to deliver the results it needs to,” he stated.

The MD attributes this to the commercial pressures in the industry which make it difficult to even resource core services.

The lack of thought leadership is also a barrier, particularly in the transformation space, though this is beginning to improve.

Regulation will force innovation

Looking ahead, Ash sees innovation as key to operators remaining viable in the new competitive market.

“Our message is that the technology platform work that providers do can unlock resources to be deployed to deliver better care. So, doing that work now will help to address a range of operating cost issues and the service flexibility model issues and so on,” he said.

“So, the development or the evolution of deterioration models that are using IOT technology and biometrics – if you aren’t innovating or onboarding some of those technologies into your model, it just won’t be possible to deliver the outcomes in a competitive way.”

Medium- to longer-term, IOT and advanced data analytics, machine learning and AI will be king.

“In the future, the big innovations lie in the IOT streaming of biometric data and the associated advanced analytics techniques that sit around those data sets to generate meaning,” he explained.

Smaller operators can combine forces

Given StewartBrown recently found just 32% of aged care providers rated their software ‘better than average’, operators will have their work cut out for them.

But Ash says all aged care providers can work towards these goals – even smaller operators.

“What the industry can do is learn from other industries in how to deploy blueprint architectures, even when scale is a problem, to be able to afford to do it,” he said.

Again, he compares it to the outsourcing of administration arrangements that took place in the superannuation industry 10 to 15 years ago.

“There was a huge shift to outsourcing, especially at the smaller end of the market, and I think that’s very possible in this industry,” he said.

“There needs to be some work done on this, but a consolidated administration capability, based on a blueprint architecture, to perform commodity back office functions in an efficient way would be a very interesting concept for the smaller players to consider leveraging and utilising.”

Watch this space then.

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