Last month, thousands of frustrated Aged Care workers across Australia took part in several rounds of strikes over remuneration, under-staffing, and working conditions. The ongoing industrial action comes as part of a sector-wide push to future-proof Aged Care, with key priorities including:

  • Adequate funding and regulation,
  • Improved investment in a strong post-pandemic healthcare workforce that is valued appropriately, and,
  • Extra support to work safely and effectively under difficult conditions.

Matt Dunn, Head of Automation at The Missing Link, explores how technology can play a part in alleviating the burden aged care workers currently face and improving their well-being. Further, he discusses how managed IT services like automation and cyber security can be huge allies for aged care organisations in 2022 as the industry faces serious challenges maintaining productivity and cost-efficiency, ensuring security, and optimising care delivery.

The challenge in Aged Care

The landmark final report from the Aged Care Royal Commission was published in March 2021. Its findings drew a line in the sand for the industry, highlighting the many ways the Aged Care system has fallen behind when it comes to the safe and effective use of digital technologies.

As with many other industries, the global COVID-19 pandemic incentivised some aged care operators to begin exploring how digital tools could help support their modern workforce as it transformed. But the sector is only just beginning its digital journey and is yet to discover the enormous potential of emerging technologies.

This budding curiosity about the unrealised possibilities of technology for Aged Care is often stifled by processes and systems which are out-of-date. Legacy systems can compromise the quality of care delivered and business performance, so it’s incredibly important they are reviewed and innovated – especially off the back of the Royal Commission.

Automation, Cyber Security and Aged Care

On 24 May, I attended the 2022 Aged Care Digital & Technology Transformation Forum in Melbourne with some colleagues and I heard directly from leaders in the Aged Care space about these very issues. What struck me is that as they approached such a large, systemic problem, leaders found it difficult to see the forest from the trees and identify where technology could make the biggest impact on their organisation.

So, where to begin? Here are my top six reasons why automation and cyber security are Aged Care's greatest allies, and how they can address the issues brought to light by the Aged Care Royal Commission and recent industrial action.

Time Scarcity

Over the past 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified issues like understaffing, excessive workloads, and extended shifts in Aged Care. The number of Australians over 65 is projected to more than double by 2057, meaning these challenges are likely to be exacerbated moving forward.

That’s where Automation comes in. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can free up care workers from mundane tasks and IT administration to do more of what they’re there to do – provide quality care to patients. More specifically, an automated digital workforce can:

  • Remove mundane tasks like My Aged Care data entry, coordinating supplier quotes and client record collection,
  • Empower care workers to provide higher quality care,
  • Ramp up fast to respond to surges in demand; and,
  • Reduce manual errors .
Staff churn

A recent survey from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation found that 1 in 5 Aged Care workers intends to resign from their role in the next year. Staff turnover in Aged Care can have a negative impact on patient safety, accuracy of documentation and quality of care. 

Automation and cyber security can facilitate a better patient experience, improve standard of care and boost staff morale while protecting sensitive data.  Some other ways automation and cyber security can move the needle include:

  • Increasing face-to-face time with patients and standard of care from staff,
  • Enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction,
  • Onboarding/Offboarding staff more efficiently; and,
  • Implementing expert Security Awareness Training for a more cyber security savvy team. 
Outdated legacy systems

Legacy systems cause blind spots and bottlenecks for the rapidly growing Aged Care industry. They can become unstable over time, causing security and productivity issues. Often, they can’t be seamlessly integrated with each other or newer systems.  

Automation can help management and employees quickly access the information required to make smarter business decisions and deliver a high-quality customer experience.  Here are some of the most beneficial ways automation can mitigate the impact of outdated legacy systems for Aged Care:

  • Quickly access the information for smarter business decisions,
  • Deliver a high-quality customer experience,
  • Synchronise data between legacy systems; and,
  • Fast track digital transformation and ensure security automation. 
Cost efficiency

Data quality, process latency and saving staff time are all vital considerations for improving cost efficiency in aged care. 

Automation is realising a minimum of 5x ROI within the first 12-24 months (about 2 years) for organisations across all industries in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Improving data visibility to make better decisions,
  • Saving time and resources on labor-intensive tasks,
  • Rapid deployment and cut costs quickly; and, 
  • Facilitating maximum return on your current infrastructure and minimise redevelopment. 
Increased regulations

Continual regulation revisions in Health Care are causing premiums to increase for many Aged Care providers due to additional policy and cyber security requirements.

The Missing Link can tackle unnecessary expenses by leveraging its cyber security partners within the sector. Employing a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to help you tackle the ever-changing cyber security regulatory landscape can:

  • Reduce the risk of not fulfilling legal and regulatory compliance,
  • Ease mergers/acquisitions of smaller companies,
  • Fulfill ASD Essential 8 / VPDSF requirements; and,
  • Conduct Penetration Testing to reduce insurance premiums and attack surface.
Inadequate cyber hygiene

Many Aged Care providers don’t have processes in place to monitor, detect and manage cyber security risks regularly.

A managed cyber security service offers solutions to ensure your organisation is protected against unforeseen and expensive consequences of a cyber-attack. An MSP such as The Missing Link can help you:

  • Access a multidisciplinary team who can conduct Penetration Testing, conduct risk assessments, and deploy solutions and provide 24/7 security operations; and,
  • Leverage our 30-minute response time to priority incidents.

The future of technology in Aged Care is in your hands

If some of these common pain points for Aged Care in 2022 resonate with you, you’re not alone. As you can see, there is a way forward using modern technologies and enlisting the support of a trusted partner.

To learn more about how automation and cyber security can be your greatest ally this year, get in touch.


Matt Dunn

Head of Automation