In this guest post, Greg O’Loan, Epicor’s Regional VP for Australia and NZ provides an overview of what aged care service providers need to do in order to ensure they are compliant by the March 2022 deadline.
It’s been six months since The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was handed down which called on industry leaders to shake up the aged care sector and restore trust. Technology must be part of those priority investments and will ultimately help the sector cut costs and upgrade efficiencies while improving care and supporting staff.
Aged care providers have since taken the recommendations in their stride to future proof their businesses and do what’s best for residents in both the short-term and long-term.
For aged care and software providers to be fully compliant – they must ensure they are certified by Services Australia via the new PRODA system by March 2022 – less than a year away. PRODA is Service Australia’s online identity verification and authentication system which allows secure access to online government services.
The latest Services Australia update means that both the public and providers can now easily review the compliance of software vendors in the aged care sector through its platform – in turn, increasing transparency and accountability in the sector.
Independent aged care provider and Epicor customer Hammondcare has welcomed the PRODA functionality which has the potential to have a significant impact on the organisation, which operates at 21 facilities across Australia with over 1300 beds. HammondCare has a strong focus on dementia and mental health, as well as a home care service.
Previously HammondCare had used multiple ERP systems requiring different processes which made it difficult across multiple areas like onboarding, billing, funding, and capturing clinical information. The billing process is now managed end to end as well as managing queries right through to the resident discharge process.
Praneel Anand, Acting CIO for HammondCare, indicates that the upside to the PRODA update will ensure teams have more time to spend with the people they serve, rather than manually logging into sites and performing time-consuming administrative tasks. It will also enable organisations to standardise processes across all facilities, creating greater visibility across large organisations.
The entire certification process takes up to four months for each aged care provider, meaning many in the sector are at risk of regulatory non-compliance. Providers need to develop an integration API (Application Programming Interface) based on Service Australia’s requirements. API integration is the connection between two or more applications via their APIs that allow systems to exchange data sources. Providers then go through in-house testing before a formal testing process with Services Australia.
Once those tests have been met, providers obtain approval from Service Australia – known as a Notice of Integration (NOI). It’s now one of the first things you should ask to see when working with a new or existing provider. Providers shouldn’t be dissuaded from this process if they don’t receive certification as it can be repeated.
Technology innovation in the aged care sector is essential to ensure compliance across the industry and, more importantly, help service providers focus resources on optimum caregiving and accountability
Through integrating with PRODA, compliance is automated, eliminating manual internal data processes and human error risks while also enabling instant reporting to better inform decision making and serve business leaders
The PRODA interface answers that level of accountability and public reassurance that was originally highlighted as missing in the Aged Care Royal Commission final report. Once software vendors servicing the aged care sector receive the certification, we anticipate, or rather strongly recommend, a continued shift towards further support and transparency for those working in even the broader healthcare space. The potential is limitless.
We could see it further integrated with doctors, nurses and medical services in a secure and reliable way – removing any human error and giving the community the confidence needed in this sector.