In this interview, Inside Ageing (IA) spoke with Dr Charles Chang, Founder and CEO of Acredia – developer of the Axis Rx management system – the latest vendor to be added to the Government’s Transitional Electronic National Residential Medication Chart (eNRMC) Conformance Register. Read more about eNRMC and the grant funding available to providers to help with the transition.
IA: I can see that your product Axis Rx has just been added to the Government’s Transitional eNRMC Conformance Register – a list of vendors who can provide a paperless system for prescribing, dispensing, administration and ongoing management of medication in an aged care business. I think your product goes a bit further than that. Can you tell us what other capabilities Axis offers?
Charles: In addition to solving the medication management issue, Axis solves three issues faced by aged care providers
- need to procure multiple software with limited or no integration
- need to wait for the software vendor to update the system for changes
- locked into features and processes provided by the software
Axis is essentially operations in a box – one system that encompasses clinical and operational aspects of Aged Care Operations – with the addition of Rx to that system providing information across various modules for maintaining analysis compliance, management and governance.
For example, in the case of Governance Reports, Axis Rx can directly report into these reports under Standard 8 of the Aged Care Quality and Safety standard – an outcome of the Aged Care Royal Commission.
The power of Axis Rx to integrate with other non-related aspects of operation is its advantage over other systems that are out there.
Another aspect of Axis Rx not found in other systems is the ability for two-way real-time communication between the pharmacy and the provider. It goes well beyond the eNRMC; through Axis Rx the pharmacy can communicate with the nurses in real-time resolving any issues and then reducing the need for phone calls and possible confusion, creating better outcomes for the resident.
IA: As the Founder of Acredia, I think you had quite a bit to do with the initial design and development of Axis. Can you tell us a little bit about that journey?
Charles: The journey started in Nov 2006 when I had a coffee with a consulting pharmacist about the medication administration problem faced by some of her aged care clients. RxRight was one of the first medication management systems specifically designed for aged care in Australia, which directly resulted from that initial conversation. RxRight was acquired by an aged care clinical systems provider in 2008.
The journey continued after I left a top clinical software provider in aged care in 2014 when a paper-chart company approached us to help transform their paper-based medication charts into an electronic medication administration tool.
There is no shortage of systems on the market, but there is a lack of integrated solutions.
This is why we developed Axis as an operating system for aged care providers.
Axis comes with hundreds of ready-to-go modules, so aged care providers can use them as-is or tailor them to suit how they operate rather than the other way around.
IA: I can see that Axis has the following modules (listed below) making it a one-stop shop when it comes to compliance. What type of feedback are you receiving from providers who are using the system with respect to compliance and reporting?
- Governance: Enterprise risk, Legislative Obligation Register and Governance Reporting
- Document Management and Document Control (with a document life cycle) and Clinical documentation
- Medication management
- Feedback and complaints
- Continuous improvement
- Incident management
- Risk management
- HR Compliance e.g., right to work, police check…
- Resident agreement
- Mobile app for family
- Open API for integration
Providers can configure Axis to suit their needs, extend modules or add new ones.
Charles: Our clients love the control they have over the software. They don’t have to wait for us to come back with changes or join the queue.
Working with our helpdesk and consultant, clients can adapt Axis to changes in just a few days, if not hours. For instance, a client of ours built a self-service complaint portal, including a Complaint Survey for all staff across the organisation in a few hours on day one of an unannounced visit. Day two concerns around staff knowledge were resolved due to these actions as well as the ability of the home to obtain and provide survey results so quickly.
IA: One of the modules is a mobile App for communication with family, as well as other modules designed to support continuous improvement. With the star rating system coming in later this year are you expecting this to be a key differentiator in the eyes of providers?
Charles: The mobile application for the family was developed at the request of one of our innovative clients. Using Axis’ open API, we were able to develop the app for families to coincide with the launch of the client’s new facility. The app has been well received by families, especially during the COVID lockdown.
Comment from one of the users of the communication app for the family:
“I use the app every day. It is a conversation starter and has enabled me to encourage Mum to participate in different lifestyle activities. It has given us peace of mind that Mum is engaged and happy.”
Charles: The star system may help Acredia gain more exposure resulting from the family app, but we’re more interested in seeing a positive outcome for providers and family members who can better connect with their loved ones.
IA: Cybersecurity remains a key concern for many providers. What can you tell us about how your system deals with this?
Charles: Axis is compliant with the Australian Government Information Security Manual (ISM) Security Control 0417 and ISM Security Control 0421 as part of the requirements to be on the eNRMC register.
The system also supports multi-factor authentication and is integrated with breached credentials service to check for breached passwords and email addresses daily.
IA: Workforce and the pressure associated with finding and retaining staff remain key issues impacting the sector and the capacity of providers to deliver quality care. What types of benefits can workers gain from Axis, especially when it comes to reducing admin tasks?
Charles: Axis complements HR information systems by keeping registers for police checks, NDIS registration, right to work, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) registration, COVID vaccination and flu vaccination. The HR compliance module will notify managers and staff when their registration is expiring.
Axis also automates the checking of right-to-work AHPRA registration with a connection to the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) and AHPRA websites.
With the requirement of providers to report on COVID vaccinations each week, Axis has made this task so much easier with a Flu and COVID vaccination dashboard for residents and staff that provides the information necessary for the MyAged Care portal.
We are currently trialling a new mobile app called Shiftly that will allow a facility to notify all staff of vacant shifts in seconds.
IA: Axis has an Open API, which is not that common when it comes to software vendors. Why did you go this way and what does it mean for providers in an overall digital strategy?
Charles: Open API is the core of our design so that clients can have control over their own data. An Open API will reduce the need to replicate data in multiple systems.
Using an Open API will also allow a provider to integrate their existing systems, so it should fit nicely into their digital strategy.
Axis integrates with a human resources information system (HRIS), finance system, nurse call systems, sensors, etc.
IA: Can you share some feedback from providers who are currently using the system, including staff feedback?
Barry Johnson, GM Quality & Innovation at Signature Care
Our organisation was looking for a Clinical Management System ahead of opening our first facility. We reviewed Axis, as well as many others. What was appealing and ultimately won us over (including our Board and CEO) is that Axis can manage not only the CMS but other aspects of our operation and homes – from governance to lifestyle, clinical, preventative maintenance, residents (including a CRM) and staff.
With 17 homes in the pipeline, Axis is basically plug-and-play for new facilities. Setting up a new home only takes a week. The Residential Manager’s office no longer has a bookcase full of folders or a filing cabinet of employee files – it’s all in Axis!
As new homes come online, we can monitor compliance in real-time, addressing any issues or resourcing problems immediately instead of waiting for them to come to light.
Axis has been tried and tested during Agency visits to our homes. Needless to say, the Commission loves the fact that everything is in the one place clinically and operationally, making every visit smooth, efficient and, in most cases, quicker than usual. Because the design of the system is customisable, when the Agency identifies something, our response is quick and often surprising to the auditors, resulting in a positive outcome. The beauty is that the response is internal; the changes, reports or new features are driven by the organisation, without the need to wait for a developer or external person.
As the General Manager of Quality, I consider Axis business critical and imperative to any organisation considering the compliance and the expectation-heavy environment we operate under these days.
Axis allows the CEO and the Directors to sleep at night knowing that we have oversight over the entire business.