A Snapshot of the Global Healthcare Sector

The healthcare industry as we know it is changing… fast. From AI and Big Data, to government deregulation, increased competition and consumer flexibility, there’s a lot to comprehend! All of this activity and chatter can be extremely confusing, so we thought we’d provide a brief overview of one of the best resources we’ve found that dives into the current issues and predictions for the global health care sector. Here are our key takeaways from Deloitte’s 2018 Global Health Care Sector Report:

  1. Compressed profit margins and increasing costs are expected to endure into the future. Additionally, demand is predicted to increase in almost all segments, which will cause substantial pressure on businesses and infrastructure on a global scale.
  2. As a direct consequence, rising costs will negatively impact the accessibility of healthcare services to consumers without government intervention.
  3. Businesses are seeking solutions that aid with the reduction of administration and supply costs, whilst also focussing on generating new sources of revenue.
  4. Healthcare providers are focusing on value rather than volume. By adopting operational efficiency, technology and other innovative solutions, providers are adopting value-based business models in order to maintain a competitive edge in an ultra consumer-focussed market.
  5. Global policies and regulations call for the highest levels of confidentiality and patient safety. Healthcare businesses will need to be ready for further regulatory change in these areas, and should be prepared to invest in privacy and safety-related infrastructure.
  6. Technology enables the best of both worlds: a reduction in operating costs and an increase in profit margins. Providers should invest into systems and processes to ensure they maintain quality, cost-effectiveness and relevance in the changing environment.
  7. A major trend is the move towards improved customer experience through digital solutions. These include customer apps, patient self-check-in portals, online information kits, and improved social media interaction. The new world of healthcare is a customer-centred world.
  8. New and innovative technology has an inherent ability to improve the key workforce challenges that the healthcare industry faces. Business should look to adopt solutions that allow them to streamline workforce management processes in order to provide cost-effective and high-quality services to their customers.

Icosian is a sophisticated and flexible workforce and customer management platform that transforms the way businesses operate in today’s highly competitive and consumer-driven market. Icosian solves the challenges of managing a large mobile workforce, and gives you the tools to focus on delivering cost-effective, high quality services to your customers.

How Providers Have Been Adapting to Increasing Costs in the Healthcare Industry.

The introduction of the NDIS has, undoubtedly, resulted in a large amount of confusion and a range of ongoing problems that Australian providers need to adapt to. Many providers have been operating on extremely tight margins, and the new changes are applying even more pressure. The costs associated with providing care services in Australia have been too high for many to handle, and unfortunately, these costs are predicted to increase into the future.

While many are feeling the pressure of the changing environment, there are still those who are It has been to see that a number of organisations have managed to maintain high profits regardless of these changes. After some investigation, we have identified the key strategies responsible for this success, and have compiled a list of our key findings to share and hopefully improve your profit margins.

1. Care offered outside the clinic – Expanding your business to a mobile service allows you to access a larger portion of the market. By offering  in-home services, your customers will be more inclined to choose you due to the increased convenience of simply being able to remain at home.

2. Not needed to rely on contract labour – Easily accessible, alternative providers will save you from booking a contractor who can charge a 100% fee for their services. Instead, having a mutual agreement with other providers will allow both of you to save big time.

3. Implement new technology and processes – Always be on the lookout for new innovative solutions that will free up your time. Wasted time equals wasted money, and finding a tool which can save you time is seldom more expensive than the cumulative time you were previously wasting.

4. Strive to reduce your administrative costs – The in-home care industry spends an average of 36% of revenue on administration and coordination. Analysing your business and striving to reduce inefficiencies should always be a top priority.

5. Increase your customer base and never stop adding value – It’s important to not only streamline the accessibility of your services to your customers, but to follow through with quality and value. Allied health and other care services are in very short supply in Australia, and demand is booming. By increasing your presence (online and physical), and implementing online booking tools, you’ll be able to easily. 

6. Finding synergy across systems – Integrate software with one and other will save many hours of data duplication and transferring between systems. Take time in finding an all rounded management platform which can communicate and share data across all of your necessary operating systems. These integration can be between accounting software, communication channels, payment systems, medicare etc.  

Icosian is a sophisticated and flexible workforce and customer management platform that transforms the way businesses operate in today’s highly competitive and consumer-driven market. Icosian solves the challenges of managing a large mobile workforce, and gives you the tools to focus on delivering cost-effective, high quality services to your customers.

7 Tips For Keeping Up With Consumer Directed Care

There’s no doubt that coordination and administration is a major function for disability and aged care providers in Australia. In fact, it has been reported that providers spend a massive 36% of revenue on these two tasks each year. With profit margins getting squeezed across both industries due to so much regulatory change, and additional pressure building with the shift to Consumer Directed Care (CDC), we thought we’d put together a few tips that can help providers save costs and improve care outcomes in today’s rapidly changing environment.

 

1. Automate it!

Almost all of the boring, repetitive tasks can be automated through new and innovative technologies. This is especially relevant to the healthcare industry, with tasks like invoicing, referrals, bookings and time-sheeting processes taking a lot of time. If it’s repetitive, automate it as best you can!

2. Let customers book or request appointments online

Giving customers the ability to book online keeps them happy and makes your life easier. Most people rely on the internet to book anything these days, and with new tech solutions hitting the market, this should be high on the list.

3. Create process diagrams

Mapping out your business processes is essential for efficiency across your organisation. Trace out each multi-step task, highlight the bottlenecks and adjust. Having a laid out plan will keep every employee updated and each process streamlined and cost-effective.

4. Create Scripts

Writing and saving scripts for things such as referral letters, emails, price quotes and invoices can be a massive time saver. Having these just a copy and a paste away allows for maximum efficiency and keeps customers happy. Every minute counts!

5. Encourage staff flexibility

Connectivity is global thanks to so many innovative management solutions hitting the market. Some still shy away from a remote workforce, however it is predicted that 60% of the office will work from home by 2020. Giving staff the flexibility to work from home can improve employee satisfaction and give you a competitive edge.

6. Keep a client database

Easily accessible and accurate client information is extremely important when trying to maintain a streamlined operation. Having up-to-date records and a CRM will greatly improve customer related tasks, and ensure that your team can rely on a “single source of truth” rather than inconsistent information from multiple sources.

7. Stop Multitasking

The human brain has a finite amount of resources which are used when we allocate our attention to any task. Studies have shown that our mental capability is significantly reduced if we focus on multiple tasks at once. If you find yourself constantly changing and revisiting activities, as if in a loop, try and complete a whole stage before moving on. You’ll find you will complete the task faster and save yourself from mental strain.

Times Are Changing.

The aged care and disability sectors are going through significant change in Australia. With the ongoing rollout of the NDIS (the largest social reform since Medicare) and the introduction of Home Care reforms in early 2017, there’s a lot happening all at the same time.

These are two extremely complex initiatives, and they have some major implications for providers and consumers alike. However, to summarise (and simplify), we’re seeing two major changes:

  1. The gradual end of block funding; and
  2. Increased flexibility for consumers.

To expand on the first of these elements: historically, disability and home care providers received upfront payments from the government for the care services they said they would deliver each year. In the new environment, however, both home care and disability providers no longer receive cash payments in advance of service delivery; they only receive funds once the actual service has been delivered. Might sound fairly logical, but it’s a huge change for two industries that have relied heavily on upfront payments for a long time.

While the second major change is a positive one for consumers, it only magnifies the implications of the lack of upfront funding for providers. Previously, it was difficult for consumers of aged care or disability services to switch providers. The provider held the funding (and was paid in advance) and there were no clear mechanisms to allow consumers to move to another provider. This meant the power was in the hands of the provider – guaranteed upfront cash flows and minimal customer churn. With a big focus on consumer flexibility, both home care and disability reforms will make it much easier for consumers to procure services from whichever provider best suits their needs.

With such major reforms rolling out across two of the largest industries in Australia at the same time (aged care and disability services combined account for about a quarter of government spending each year in Australia), it’s almost certain that we’ll see (more) growing pains across these sectors over the next few years.

We’ve already started to see new providers enter the market with innovative delivery models, great tech and favourable pricing structures. We’ve also seen an increasing amount of negative press surrounding the impacts of the NDIS on providers. How are existing providers going to adjust to this new environment? Only time will tell, but a few areas that I think are critical include: workforce flexibility, streamlining existing business processes, maximising the power of referral networks and technology. Just a few areas that I’m keen to explore in future posts!