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Service Continuity During COVID-19: Australian Scale-Ups and Start-Ups Can Help

innovAGEING > Media + Blog > Blog > Service Continuity During COVID-19: Australian Scale-Ups and Start-Ups Can Help
Posted by: Merlin Kong
Category: Blog

In the months ahead, safe and supported independence for older Australians is going to become unfathomably difficult.

Out of necessity, providers are scrambling to consider how they might deliver continuity of service in an environment of escalating isolation, and the potential for substantially reduced workforce availability.

Some persistent challenges have become more critical than ever to solve: building strong remote connections between older Australians and their families and carers, developing a clear picture of how care recipients are coping between care visits, making sure staff have the tools they need to effectively do their job with less in-person contact, and getting timely feedback on how services are working for people.

Australian entrepreneurs have been working to solve technology problems like these over the last few years. And yet, versus other industry sectors, aged care lags behind in its adoption of innovative products and services, and the new ways of working that accompany them. So often constrained by the complex decision-making associated with, and the ‘operationalisation’ of, new technology – our industry has never had a better opportunity to radically reconsider how we deliver efficient and effective care in the home setting.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and across many industries this crisis will create the opportunity to circumvent normal practice in the pursuit of survival. Some industries will work out how to maintain that agility towards action beyond the crisis and into the next new-normal. How can we ensure that Age Care will be one of them?

Given all of this, as a provider, it’s a great time to be considering each of the following actions:

  • With an emerging understanding of what you need to get done, contact LASA’s innovAGEING network, or any one of the amazing Age Tech founders in Australia, and let them help you navigate towards a product or service that can help solve that need.
  • Challenge your organisation to circumvent the usual process of decision making and project-managing implementation. How might you stand up a service in less than 4 weeks (with support from the technology provider)? And how might you maintain that agility beyond the end of this crisis?
  • Share a specific customer or workforce problem with the start-up community and ask them to help you solve it – there are hundreds of very smart, technology-first people working across our Age Tech ecosystem, each with a massive pre-disposition to contribute. Now is the time to engage them and take advantage of their skills.
  • If you are already trying something that is working, tell as many others as you can, including through the LASA forum. We must leverage each other’s learnings at times like this, and more than ever before.

Our industry has always been united by a desire to serve. In response to the current crisis, many Australian start-ups in the Aged Care space are changing their products and offerings to make it easier for providers to work with them – new features, more hands-on support, reduced (in some cases free) prices.

Challenging times present a great opportunity to work with freedom with new partners to solve the critical issues your business is facing. Working together will often give you, and your customers, better results, and set a foundation for continuously innovating into the future.

Rob Deeming is CEO at Billy