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Aged care is no more: lines between sectors blur in move to market

With the deregulation of aged care and sister sectors such as disability services, organisations are becoming increasingly commercially competitive and crossing traditional sector boundaries in search of new clients.

Robert Lippiatt. Photo: Richard O'Leary

Robert Lippiatt. Photo: Richard O’Leary

Robert Lippiatt, executive director with Southern Pacific Consulting Group, said that disability service providers were increasingly “eyeing off parts” of the community aged care market and its clients.

He told the ACSA/IAHSA Joint International Conference on Wednesday that aged care no longer existed as a distinct sector, as the lines between disability, health and care were blurred in the move to the market.

In the new landscape, quality and consistency of customer experience was increasingly important, as was a deep understanding of consumers and their needs, he told the Perth audience.

Mr Lippiatt said the dynamics of a deregulated sector were:

  • a competitive commercial market based on a customer-centric model
  • a transition period with a time of “high turbulence and consolidation”
  • more service options and choice, where the “customer is king”.

It was imperative that aged care providers focused on their workforce, and found ways to support and retain their staff, he said. For community aged care providers in particular, an organisation’s frontline workforce was its “X factor”. Frontline care workers tended to be low status, low paid, and the least trained and valued, yet they came into contact with consumers most regularly and were effectively the face and ambassadors of the organisation, he said.

Mr Lippiatt said that “disruptors” with new business models had been entering the aged care space. These disruptors were built on innovation, had empowered customers and utilised emerging technologies.

Ultimately, aged care providers needed to consider what a sustainable business future looked like for their organisation, where their organisation was now in relation to its desired future, and how would they go about getting there.

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One Response to Aged care is no more: lines between sectors blur in move to market

  1. Stuart Kaplan September 22, 2015 at 4:13 am #

    Agree with all said. As providers of care we must advocate with government and other payers to break down the silos that exist between the various sectors that create duplicative and over-regulation and inhibit development of innovative efficient models. Additionally, financial incentives should be created to encourage such models.

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