Over the past three years, there has been a significant increase in the number of new technology-powered groups offering greater control, choice and cost efficiency for support based services.
One thing I’m sure of is, even with the rapid acceleration of smartphones, wearables and other internet connected devices, enabling people across our communities to access the right services at the right time has proven to be more complex and expensive.
Several groups are using what some call “peer connected” tools to help clients regain control and open new possibilities with their funding (such as the NDIS). These are places where clients can select services and choose their preferred support person directly from their PC or smartphone.
How these groups achieve this and manage to keep costs down is through an on-demand workforce and automated tools that help match clients with the right person. Essentially, they remove the “administration” that usually comes at a cost with most typical support providers. So, is this a good thing and if not what are the risks?
I cannot deny the savings for clients in the community can be significant. Some groups can offer services from as low as $25 per/hour which, when compared to standard rates of $45 per/hour and above, can almost double clients’ budgets. The fact that these tools allow people to select the support person that is right for them is cornerstone in a customer-centric world. But these benefits can come at a cost.
To deliver cheaper services, most groups have scaled down their interview and screening processes, substituting them with a review framework (ratings from other clients). Ongoing training is another element that I’ve not seen included as a standard feature, helping those who work using these online tools. And what about peer support and isolation for the support workers?
As these early tools grow and support clients in the community I remain cautious of the impact they will have on quality outcomes for clients. Only time will tell. Being a firm believer in the benefits technology can bring to the world, I look forward seeing these tools mature, folding in client needs to ensure goals and positive outcomes are achieved.
Greg is CEO & Co-founder of hayylo; our goal is to help all support providers offer more to their clients, more effectively, through automated and intelligent tools. Take a look at www.hayylo.com or contact us at [email protected].
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