The NDIS changed everything for organisations in the Australian disability support sector. In many ways for the better — but the benefits have also come at a cost to service providers. In a recent interview, Leesa Miller, CFO at WISE Employment and GoodHuman customer, told us the NDIS left a lot of providers struggling to manage the compliance and complexities of admin on the scheme.
“We knew that if we were going to continue on the NDIS, we needed to drastically reduce our back-of-house costs and have a steely commitment to automation… Disability support organisations can manage if they stay small and boutique, but if you have a large organisation or want to grow — the only answer is automation.”
— Leesa Miller, Chief Financial Officer at WISE Employment
What do automation solutions look like for service providers looking to scale and drive efficiency on the NDIS? Here are five examples of important but admin-heavy workflows that disability support organisations can automate right now.
Disability support organisations rely on a casual workforce, so effective rostering of frontline support workers is essential. Rostering is an area that can be easily automated to help fill shifts and manage break compliance. This can greatly improve the productivity of team members responsible for managing rostering, helping them to quickly navigate challenges like shift cancellations and calculating support ratios from group services.
However, there are a lot of rostering tools that take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to every industry. What works for retail or even nursing, may not be suitable for your disability support organisation. For example, when delivering group support, your rostering team needs a tool that can account for the support ratios for individuals you’re providing services to. If you have an individual who needs to maintain a 1:1 care ratio and another with 1:3, you need a rostering tool that can help you identify and prevent any gaps.
When looking to automate rostering for NDIS services, keep an eye out for software or rostering solutions that can offer:
- Compliance with the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry (SCHADS) Award
- Automatic calculations of support staffing ratios for group services, letting you know how many people you require at any given time to ensure support ratios are maintained
- Notifications of how many hours people have accepted each week to avoid overtime if other suitable staff still have availability
- Skills matching to help assign the best-qualified support workers to the right customers, accounting for the complexity of care they require
2. NDIS Invoicing
At the time of writing, the current NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits (previously known as the Price Guide) document is a whopping 111 pages long, excluding the often-added addendums. Cataloguing the service codes and rates for NDIS invoicing is a mammoth task in itself — but if that wasn’t challenging enough, it also changes regularly.
“The NDIS overlaid an incredible level of administrative work on service delivery. Automating the NDIS price guide has a significant impact for us, we were manually updating pricing every time changes were rolled out,” says Leesa.
There’s also the additional complexities around calculating apportioned pricing for group services and claiming against line items for travel and other non face-to-face expenses. If line items don’t match up with a customer’s service agreement, invoices won’t get paid. The manual work required to process accurate invoice claims on the NDIS creates gaping lag times between when services are provided and when your organisation gets paid for them.
For automation to fix this, look for solutions like GoodHuman that have been designed specifically for the NDIS that are synchronised with the most up-to-date NDIS pricing and can calculate apportioned pricing. GoodHuman also offers digital service agreements, so accounts teams can be certain that all line items they bill are in alignment with what a customer has been approved for. By automating both the pricing and the invoicing, providers can invoice the correct fee for every service, on the day it was completed.
When team members record their shifts, are you relying on them to manually record their start and end times (often left until the end of the day)? Is someone in the office still manually approving every hour and comparing notes with rostered times?
Using a mobile app is a great solution for automating timesheets, allowing team members to check-in and out of shifts. Not only does logging shifts in real-time improve accuracy, but it can also be synchronised to input data into your payroll system to ensure casual workers are being paid correctly for their time.
When looking for an app to manage timesheets and digital check-ins, look for solutions that save time for managers approving shifts and hours. For example, they should receive an alert for discrepancies if team members are logging hours that are different from their scheduled shifts. To speed up the approval process, you could establish an agreed leeway time so that managers can be alerted only to times that are off by more than 15 minutes on either side of a shift.
If you’re using a system like GoodHuman with a connected workflow between your timesheets and NDIS invoicing, using digital check-ins has the added benefit of ensuring that you’re invoicing accurately based on the support worker and time on site.
4. NDIS compliance and customer information
Support work is about as human as human services get — there are some things you will never be able to automate, nor would you want to. One of those things is customer care information and notes from a shift. However, just because it’s an area that requires human input, that doesn’t mean it can’t be made more efficient with automation.
For example, an automated process that asks team members to input their booking notes when they check out of a shift on their device. Instead of having to allocate hours of extra time at the end of their day, employees are prompted to update notes there and then. This ensures that the information is fresh and accurate, while also avoiding the trap of leaving them until well after the service has been delivered and delaying invoicing.
Customers and legal guardians should also have access to update these digital profiles, instantly providing the right care information and preferences to the people who need it the most. Ordinarily, if someone wants to update their information they need to call and speak to someone who will need to manually update their CRM profile. Not only is this creating a lot of manual work for the service team, but the customer’s support workers also may not be able to access this new information in time for their next booking.
By having a single source of truth that updates in real-time, you remove the burden on customers and legal guardians to repeat information over and over. This can help them feel more supported and respected by your organisation, while also reducing the administrative work for customer service teams.
5. Incident reporting
When incidents occur, you want to be ready to deal with them quickly and professionally. However, incident reports often create a lot of manual admin work and slow down a process that should be addressed immediately.
To automate this process, if someone logs an incident report, instant notifications should be sent to the right people so that everyone stays informed as you work toward a resolution. How you automate this process will largely depend on the software or system you use to receive and process incident reports. GoodHuman has developed this feature in our operating system, allowing organisations to design automated workflows around their specific incident processes and designate who needs to be notified.
Focus on support, not paperwork
It’s time to do away with the friction that is getting in the way of the NDIS delivering the best possible outcomes for both customers and their service providers. Watch a 4-minute demo to see how GoodHuman can help transform your organisation with automation or get started today with a 1-month free trial.
If you’re interested in learning more about how WISE Employment boosted productivity through automation to thrive on the NDIS, get your copy of the Digital Transformation Playbook: 3 Steps to Future-Proof Your NDIS Organisation.
With three simple steps that executives can take now to start their journey of digital transformation, the playbook shares insight into how organisations like WISE Employment took charge by starting small and learning along the way.
Get the playbook to learn how to:
- Where to start with digital transformation
- How to adopt a “test and learn” mindset
- What to look for when selecting a technology vendor