Care Management Software and the Future of Care Delivery: Opportunities and Challenges

Asha Neil

Written on 16 March, 2023
The healthcare industry will need to adapt to meet the developing needs of Australia’s ageing population. But while the future holds challenges, there are also opportunities ahead.

Preparation, paired with the right health care tools, will enable care providers to minimise the impact of these challenges while making the most of the opportunities. 

5 Major Challenges Facing the Healthcare System

The future of Australia’s aged care delivery depends on how well providers can overcome these key challenges.

Ageing Population

Today, 16% of Australians are aged 65+. But by 2066, older Australians will make up almost a quarter of the country’s population.

Not only will Australians be older overall, but there will be a greater percentage of people in advanced older age. In 2020, Australians aged 85+ made up 2.1% of the population. In 2066, they are projected to represent roughly 4%.

As Australia’s population ages, there will be more demand on our health systems, along with a reduced supply of working-age people able to provide healthcare services.

Labour Shortages

Labour shortages have a marked impact not just on the patient experience but also on healthcare providers' capacity for care delivery.

The labour shortfall is already noticeable. Each year, Australia needs an additional 17,000 direct aged care workers. One in three older households are currently unable to get their care needs fully met, a figure that will only rise with time.

Australia’s ageing population isn’t the only factor contributing to labour shortages. So too is the negative perception of aged care, which causes fewer adults to enter the aged healthcare industry. 

Low wages, poor work hours, and limited career progression are further causing carers to quit. On top of that, reduced immigration following the COVID-19 pandemic has created hiring challenges.

Widespread Chronic Diseases

The impact of chronic disease in Australia has risen by 38% since 1990. Today, chronic diseases are the driving cause of illness, disability and death, with just eight chronic conditions responsible for almost nine out of every ten deaths. 

What’s more, half of older Australians live with multiple chronic conditions. The increasing impact of chronic conditions will stress the aged healthcare system. It is going to require a more coordinated and complex healthcare delivery.

Worsening Mental Health 

One in four Australian adults have sought out mental health services in the last six months. The health care system is struggling to meet this increased demand, with seven out of ten people waiting more than two months for care.

For older Australians, the issue can be particularly acute. Loneliness, grief and illness can all contribute to deteriorating mental health. Care providers will need to prepare to offer more behavioural health supports to ensure better patient outcomes. Investing in improving mental health literacy will also be important.

Poor Profitability

Less than half of aged care providers made a net profit in 2020–21. Patient care delivery can be costly, with providers struggling to continue providing key services. This can lead to a lower quality of care and a worse patient experience. Ultimately, it can also result in aged care providers leaving the healthcare industry.

How Software Will Empower Healthcare Providers to Meet the Needs of the Future

Although Australia’s healthcare system faces major challenges, it also offers opportunities for aged care providers that can attract talented staff, run a financially resilient business and deliver care that’s adapted to chronic conditions. With greater demand for health services, these providers should find that they’re well positioned to grow their businesses

A digital transformation will help aged care providers transform their operations and take advantage of this opportunity.

Care Coordination

Digital health tools make care coordination easier. Intuitive rostering allows you to schedule multiple services with the click of a button, from appointments with health coaches to physiotherapists. 

Document management tools will make instant information-sharing possible, so that every health care professional assigned to a client can see the most up-to-date patient information, no matter what stage of the patient journey they’re at. In turn, this can improve patient outcomes.

Plus, client portals facilitate sharing information that can lead to improved health literacy and a better patient experience 

Workforce Management 

Digital health care systems will help you make the most of your aged care workforce. Your employees will be able to set their preferred shift times and bid on new work, giving them control over their rosters and their work-life balance. Filters will help you make better client-carer matching decisions. 

And with improved communication, you can give your team the support they need for exceptional healthcare delivery.

Financial Efficiency

Digital health systems can support aged care providers in operating a more efficient care delivery business without negatively impacting either patient outcomes or the patient experience.

Operational tasks, such as accounting, scheduling and communications, can be automated. This reduces the associated labour cost. Modern rostering tools further help lower the per-client labour cost, along with travel expenses, by optimising schedules. Funds tracking and auto-generated financial reports can also help healthcare providers monitor their finances.

Software That Will Support Your Business Today and for Years to Come

Healthcare providers face difficult challenges in the years ahead. As they work to deliver high quality care for a rapidly ageing population with increasingly complex needs, they’ll need to adapt. Overcoming labour shortages to remain profitable will require excellent efficiency, care coordination and workforce management. 

ShiftCare's care management software can empower your business to deliver an excellent quality of care while operating more efficiently. It will help you reduce your admin work, make the most of your team of carers and share information instantly for better care coordination.

It comes with scheduling, client-carer matching, care funds management, progress notes and document management, accounting integration and all the features you need for person-centric care delivery. 

Discover how digital technologies can help your business adapt to the needs of the future. Try ShiftCare for free.

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