Technology will play a massive part in the future of aged care. Dan Beeston, ICT Manager, Juniper, explains how Juniper Aged Care undertook a whole-of-business IT refresh to enable greater efficiency across the company’s services so more resources could be invested in caring for the changing needs of residents.
The first of the nation’s baby boomers are turning 75 this year and, unlike the generation before them, they increasingly enjoy the benefits that technology can bring them. Some are embracing new devices like iPads and Fitbits as enthusiastically as the younger generations, which will no doubt experience an entirely new world of aged care in the decades ahead.
Many technologies that have become commonplace – think the Internet of Things (IoT) and related smart devices – provides a significant opportunity to ensure aged care residents receive the exact care they need, the moment they need it – whether that’s through connected monitors, blood pressure devices or even AI-driven fall detection.
It’s no secret, technology will play a massive part in the future of aged care – if and where it isn’t already – but it takes more than just the latest flashy technologies to evolve the aged care sector.
A recent Epicor survey found fewer than 15% of aged care organizations have integrated their digital assets. While we’ve seen providers invest, many have a missing link.
Yet, at this critical time for aged care, Juniper Aged Care has reinvested its resources to where they are needed most, allowing it to further improve experiences for residents. Juniper is a leading provider of care, accommodation and support services for older Western Australians. As a values-driven, not-for-profit organization, Juniper is highly focused on the delivery of person-centered care and services that enhance the physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing of residents and clients.
Recently, Juniper undertook a whole-of-business IT refresh – the organization urgently needed to improve efficiencies and transform its operations. The core driver behind the overhaul was to enable greater efficiency across the company’s services so more resources could be invested in caring for the changing needs of residents.
The first step of Juniper’s new ICT strategy included shifting to a cloud-first model and replacing over 10,000 items of technology equipment across the business. Juniper was previously reliant on on-premises technology infrastructure which required substantial capital expenditure. Still, by moving to the cloud and digital technologies, it shifted its cost model to operational expenditure, so it has more capital to invest in improving the quality of care to residents and clients.
That was a huge milestone, but Juniper recognized that many of its business-critical applications were disparate – unable to communicate important data because they weren’t designed to be compatible. Management recognized the only way to achieve its digital objectives was to integrate these assets, allowing the ability to view, analyze and manage data in real time and therefore break down data silos across the business.
One of the key issues the ICT team had to overcome was that Juniper’s critical business applications were disjointed and relied on too many manual or heavily customized integrations which were extremely complex to maintain over the time. Staff, residents and incident information was also duplicated across multiple systems, making it difficult and time-consuming to locate and extract data to inform business decisions.
Boomi’s integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) was chosen to fix this problem, due to its ability to easily break down data silos by easily integrating on-premises and cloud applications with a simple drag-and-drop user interface.
It seems low-code technology paints a viable solution for aged care businesses, particularly when every dollar saved is another dollar invested in resident and client health and wellbeing. In fact, for Australian organizations wishing to transform their business, 34% report lack of budget as one of the top three hurdles.
However, since successfully completing the integration, Juniper has improved productivity across the business and devoted more resources to resident and client care. As a result, it’s been able to drive efficiencies and free people from manual administrative tasks.
In addition, to streamline how Juniper responds to the aged care sector’s compliance and governance requirements, it centralized critical data into a single Risk Management platform called ionMy – Boomi enabled the required integration with several other systems including iCare (Clinical care), Epicor (ERP), Chris21 (Payroll) and Okta (Identity and access management). If Boomi had not been used, the organization would have had to find a way to manually integrate these critical systems, which would have been far too complex and costly.
Further, thousands of desktop terminals have now been replaced with mobile tablets so carers can spend more time interacting with the residents where they are comfortable, rather than behind the scenes at nurse’s stations doing data entry. All with a swipe on a mobile device, carers can know straight away what a resident’s preferences are – from their favorite clothes to wear each day, to how they like their tea or coffee.
A big issue that was identified prior to Boomi was that each of the ten key systems had its own set of credentials so carers would have to log in 10 different times, remember ten separate passwords and enter the same data multiple times. This has all been replaced by a single sign-on.
The next phase in Juniper’s digital journey is to implement Boomi’s Master Data Hub to gain 360-degree visibility across its ecosystem, ensuring consistent data throughout the business and a single source of truth to enable data analytics and business intelligence projects. Previously isolated systems meant data was entered differently in each separate system which made it impossible to run any analytics or gain any insight from the data. With consistent data in a central source, even greater value will be able to be delivered to the business.
There’s enormous pressure on the aged care sector in the wake of the current Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and digital technologies have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the best possible care. While the aged care sector continues to remain under the microscope, Juniper is now in an even stronger position to make a positive impact in communities by enabling greater efficiency and boosting focus on stakeholder outcomes by using technology to get a better view and use of data. Data is playing a momentous role in allowing Juniper to personalize the experience of residents and clients now while setting the organization up for the future.Click below to share this article