Aged Care In Australia

The aged care industry is in a period of sustained change. Changes to legislation, increasing security threats, demands for greater transparency, increasing consumer demands for better CX mean that the industry has no choice but to adapt. 

Dr Kevin Cheng, Founder, Osana, says his company aims to fundamentally disrupt how primary care operates and is funded, by shifting the focus from activity-based care (number of patients and consultations) to providing good health outcomes. So what does disruption look like for Australia's aged care industry?

Legislation and competition

Changes to regulations and legislation in Australia have resulted in a growing market that is now more competitive than ever. Where once there were only a few major players, the field is filling up. And with consumers expected to take on a bigger role with respect to ensuring that they themselves or elderly parents and relatives are receiving the care they need, new pressures now exist with Consumer Directed Care (CDC) where seniors have more control over and can make decisions on the home care that works best for them and their carers.

With a number of elements coming together to drive change, from statutory changes to varying regulations and financing, Mark Sands, General Manager, Asia Pacific at Board,  says there is a growing need for efficiency and cloud will deliver better efficiency in this highly competitive market.

With the Australian Government having indicated that it plans to introduce the CDC into residential aged care in the future there will no doubt be a great shift in the way aged care businesses market themselves since the CDC will only be available to consumers where traditionally it was given to the providers.

A complex customer journey with increasing touch-points

The customer journey in aged care is already complex. Individuals and families are confronted with the need to make, sometimes difficult decisions and thus determining the level of care needed has become largely a job for the internet as sons and daughters spend time reading websites, reviews, and blogs, talking to friends or colleagues and visiting facilities with their parents.

Mark Sands, says new technology enables front line medical staff access to analytics, which used to be the domain of data scientists.

“To improve patient outcomes we need to allow clinicians to analyse diagnostic data at the time of diagnosis, not long after treatment,” Sands says.

“This is available to the healthcare sector in general. In order to be more efficient and effectively deliver patient service we need to cut across siloes. Teams need to be working together more effectively and access to real-time data is critical.” 

The number of touch-points across industries are increasing, not decreasing. As new technologies are introduced such as bots and AI for example, the challenges of capturing a single view of the customer is even more difficult to achieve and can be even more challenging when dealing with disparate and siloed systems.

Another way to remove siloes is with modern unified communication technology which helps staff collaborate and enables people to receive care in any location.

Brendan Maree, Vice President APAC, 8x8, says communication technology can provide better outcomes for customer service and patients, from streamlining workflow to remote telehealth for people in regional areas.

Demands and competition

As increasing numbers of the ‘demanding, vocal and independent’ baby boomers start to arrive at the doors of aged care in its various forms, we are reminded that we are an ageing Australian population. 

In 2017, there were 3.8 million Australians aged 65 and over (comprising 15% of the total population) – increasing from 319,000 (5%) in 1927 and 1.3 million (95) in 1977. The number and proportion of older Australians is expected to continue to grow. By 2057, it is projected there will be 8.8 million older people in Australia (22% of the population); by 2097, 12.8 million people (25%) will be aged 65 and over (ABS).

Competition will only increase as new providers enter the market. Established providers need to consider not only price competition and operational efficiencies but also embrace the need to consolidate their value proposition and develop a detailed understanding of their interactions with existing and prospective customers.

This must all be done while maintaining security of patient data – a hotly debated issue.

Phil Kernick, Chief Technology Officer, CQR Consulting, says as we develop more automated hospitals and aged care facilities, sometimes security is lacking.

“We spend a lot of money on patient care, but no money on backend systems,” Kernick says. “We need to avoid a tipping point where we can’t manage the complex technology in a modern hospital or aged care facility.”

Expert inputs

Recently, experts came together to share insights and discuss the future of aged care in Australia. See the full panel list below. The discussion highlighted the need for the right experts to come together early in the planning process when developing new facilities and hospitals.

Charles Fortin, Managing Director, Collard Maxwell Architects, says “Technology is making a big entrance in the retirement living and aged care space this year and today’s new hospitals have a lot in common with data centres as they require high-levels of power and data redundancy, security, and connectivity. But we are still experiencing the early days of the tech revolution, and there will be great opportunities here in Australia to design new types of hospitals and aged care facilities which can reap the advantage of applying new technology for patient care.”

Architects are now paying attention to the benefits of certain IT systems earlier in the design process with new projects starting to receive more significant technology funding as a result.

According to Fortin, “Challenges for the designer will be in integrating technology to augment the human experience in a way that is smooth and invisible.”

Organisations are under more pressure to develop programs of research to inform their strategic and operational planning processes now and moving forward into the future. This is relevant for both existing and new facilities.

As the health and aged care landscapes continue to change and evolve in Australia, so to must the service delivery  


Rodney Gedda, Senior Analyst, Telsyte

Rodney Gedda has 15 years’ experience in the IT industry as an analyst, editor, journalist and various new business creation roles. He is a Senior Analyst for Telsyte’s enterprise IT research program covering cloud computing (IaaS), enterprise communications, mobility and digital workplace insights. His analyst experience ranges from CIO and enterprise IT advisory to vendor and service provider marketing and content strategies. He is an avid personal and professional blogger, and has an engineering degree from the University of Sydney.

Dr Kevin Cheng, Founder, Osana

Dr Kevin Cheng is an Australian trained GP specialising in chronic disease management and integrated care. He has worked as a doctor in Australia, Hong Kong, London and Africa in clinical and non-clinical roles, reforming health systems and delivering health improvements for patients. He also has a business background having advised international companies at McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group. Dr Kevin Cheng’s focus is on health and aged care affordability across the entire Australian health system and he spends about 10 per cent of his time on various national health reform committees (Digital Health CRC, Australia’s Health 2040 GAP TaskForce, and Clinical Guideline Committees for specific diseases).

Osana’s service has been designed by Australian general practitioners (GP) to deliver better outcomes for patients and their families.  GPs engage with patients in a unique way that activates and empowers patients in their own health and well being through education, coaching and group activities.  At the same time, Osana focuses on preventing illnesses and issues before they arise by formulating a health plan that identifies gaps in an individual’s healthcare.

Phil Kernick, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, CQR Consulting

CQR is considered to be one of the leading providers of information security services in Australia.  It works with more than 300 leading Australian private and public sector organisations.  The company was founded with the mission of “Making The World a Safer Place.  It is a wholly Australian-owned provider of independent cyber and information security consulting services founded by information security professionals who previously worked for multinational corporations.  The company is headquartered in Adelaide and has offices in New York and Oxford (UK) as well as in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  The company prides itself on being bilingual in the languages of business and technology.  

Phil Kernick has 25 years’ experience in information security and technology and has specialised in the areas of technical information security, critical infrastructure and forensics. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the financial, utility and defence market segments where he has conducted numerous security and application reviews, develop security audit programmes, and assisted clients to maximise the value of their information assets through effective security strategy and architecture.

Mark Sands, APAC Managing Director, BOARD

Founded in 1984, BOARD  has enabled more than 3,000 companies worldwide to rapidly deploy business intelligence, corporate performance management and analytics solutions on a single unified and programming-free platform rather than via point solutions for data visualisation, data discovery, planning, forecasting and advanced analytics.  Based in Sydney, Mark Sands has 30 years’ sales experience in the IT industry and is responsible for BOARD’s sales, account management and channel development across Australia and New Zealand. Prior to BOARD, Mark was ANZ Country Manager at Analytics8, ANZ Regional Director for Qliktech, and Director Global Services at Business Objects.  He has also worked in various roles for Sybase, Pilot Software and CIP Software. 

Charles Fortin, Managing Director, Collard Maxwell Architects 

Collard Maxwell Architects is one of Australia’s leading design and construct architecture firms. The company has maintained a reputation for architectural excellence for more than 70 years and delivers successful outcomes by customising its service to each project, employing quality consultants and builders, and maintaining a high level of communications and customer service.  Charles Fortin graduated in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago, known for its Bauhaus teaching philosophy and expertise in tall building construction. In 2013 he was appointed Director at Collard Maxwell Architects.  He is a chartered architect, A+ member of the Australian Institute of Architects, and regularly contributes his time to different groups and associations, including tutoring the Practice of Architecture Learning Series (PALS) for the Australia Institute of Architects.   Charles oversees the delivery of between 30 and 40 projects a year, many of them design & construct within the health and aged care sector.  As a designer Charles strives to create spaces that are functional and timeless, spaces that inspire people to do great work, and think great ideas; spaces that are symbolic and that make a profound statement about their users.

Brendan Maree, Vice President Asia Pacific, 8x8

8x8 is a leading cloud provider of voice, video, collaboration and contact centre solutions for over one million users worldwide.  These solutions help businesses transform their customer and employee experience.  Brendan Maree was appointed Vice President of Asia Pacific in late 2017 and has more than 20 years of sales and business development experience in the IT industry.  He was formerly at Interactive Intelligence for more than ten years during which time he launched and dramatically grew the company’s business throughout the Asia Pacific region.  Prior to joining Interactive Intelligence, Brendan was Avaya’s Channel Manager for SMB products, a position he held for two years.  He also previously worked as National Account Manager at US-based mobile phone infrastructure provider, Allen Telecom, Director of Sales for Mobile Coverage Solutions, and was also an Account Manager at Anritsu.


Brad Arsenault

Written by Brad Arsenault

Brad is the Head of Marketing at Fifth Quadrant. For over 16 years he's worked across digital marketing and content production. He actively publishes content on LinkedIn and Medium.

Topics: Customer experience CX Articles & Insights security

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