Are providers ready for star ratings?

Star ratings for residential aged care providers is expected to launch at the end of 2022.

Whilst there is a clear criterion for ratings with an overall weighted score, providers will now be reconsidering their data and systems, built around customer experience to obtain the best possible rating.

Residential aged care services will have an overall star rating, as well as against 4 sub-categories:

1. five quality indicators which increase over time – as reported by the provider
2. service compliance ratings – from accreditation
3. consumer experience – from interviews with residents
4. staff care minutes – as reported from the payroll/roster system

At Humanetix, we welcome any government change that places the consumer of care at the center of a rating system, designed to showcase great consumer experience and choice for older Australians and their families.

The department has developed the star rating system and has commenced its introduction.

The process has involved engaging providers in the process, whilst weighting consumer feedback to determine the providers overall score.

The first round of questioning will be conducted across approximately 2,700 residential sites and about 35,000 aged care residents will be surveyed. Interviewees will include residents from vulnerable communities, diverse cultures, and those with special needs to best represent the voice of those receiving residential care. 

The focus of the resident questions will be:

●      Do you like the food here?
●      Do you feel safe here?
●      Is this place well run?
●      Do you get the care you need?
●      Do staff treat you with respect?

How much impact will star ratings have on providers?

We believe that star ratings will be a huge shift to the residential aged care industry. Looking at other industries, we know that ratings and reviews are a critical path to purchase. Using retail and FMCG as an example, we know that over 70% of new consumers will look at reviews and ratings before purchasing a product.

We expect family members to follow the same process, however the percentage may not be as high to start with. This means that providers who have a higher rating will expect to see an increase in the demand for new residents entering their facility, whilst others with a lower rating are likely to see a decrease in the number of new residents.

Star ratings also deliver a range of benefits to recipients of care, including greater, informed choice about their aged care. The government will be able to provide transparent information about our aged care system, how this is improving and delivering better system quality post royal commission.

Whilst customer experience and surveys form a large part of star ratings, providers will now start to think of new plans and strategies to improve customer experience through digital technology.

There are a lot of options for providers to consider when looking for the right products to help improve customer experience. We believe the products that are fit for purpose by allowing providers to easily analyse trends, will be market leaders within the aged care technology space.   

Quality indicators cannot be overlooked when considering star ratings. It’s one thing to report them back to the government, but it’s another to have robust technology that enables you to improve your resident outcomes, using quality indicators as a way of trending your operations performance, not a tick of a box exercise.  

Care minutes will continue to evolve. Whilst the reporting can be quite simple as it stands today, we expect that providers will need to provide more granular reporting, matching individualised care needs to the care delivered by the provider. Whilst a provider can report today on the care delivered, it does leave food for thought as to how the government will evolve its reporting around minutes to individuals receiving care.

This becomes more relevant in July 2024 when reporting care minutes will be required on an individual basis to demonstrate the use of available funds. Therefore, the next 18 months to 2 years will see this granular approach evolve to a more detailed level. We believe that providers will be looking to get ahead of the curve in reporting detailed minutes to recipients of care, and their families in a way to boost customer experience.

The providers who start to prepare now will be ready when the changes occur, whilst those who wait will be caught with an inability to meet the new requirements.  

A providers perspective

From a provider’s perspective, they are now expected to collect more and more data for reporting purposes. This becomes overwhelming at a time when financial and quality pressures are at their highest.

However, concentrating on systems that collect the relevant data in an easy format is where the focus needs to be. Manually collecting data or spending hours copying and pasting data from systems and reporting is no longer an option.

To get the most out of the star rating system, a provider requires an overhaul of the systems used in the four areas:

1. Quality indicators – which needs a clinical care system that is electronically   based, and easy for staff to use  

2. Service compliance ratings – which needs a model of care that places the person at the heart of the business and is supported by compliance systems

3. Consumer experience – which needs a continual feedback system so you know what the answers will be to the questions on any given day  

4. Staff care minutes – which needs a reporting system that provides the detail required to demonstrate the minutes allocated

We spoke with one of our valued customers, Peter Michael, the CEO of Emerald Life, who gave some great advice to other providers.

“Start with a great clinical care system as the base for collecting your care data to improve your operations, centred around your residents. Most of your government reporting can come from here with the additional technology, complimentary to your business needs”

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