When providing disability support services on the NDIS, every day is unique (even with the same customers). This highly dynamic environment puts pressure on frontline staff to respond quickly — they need to do things in the moment and can’t wait for solutions. Without the right tools in place, staff often come up with their own workarounds, using insecure office tools and their email inbox to store information that should be held and managed by your organisation.
To avoid scenarios like this and find a simple, intuitive platform that your teams can adopt easily (and even enjoy using!), here are six key questions support organisations should ask when looking for software for NDIS providers.
Free Download: Learn more about how other NDIS providers are challenging outdated processes in The NDIS Leadership Playbook.
1. Is the software purpose-built for the complexities of the NDIS?
There is no shortage of productivity solutions in the world, but with complex regulations and compliance to navigate, not all software will benefit the disability services sector in the same way it serves retail, corporate offices or even hospitals.
Today’s NDIS might not look the same as tomorrow’s. Avoid software that is built on large, generic platforms such as Salesforce that — while powerful for many businesses — aren’t designed primarily for the unique and evolving challenges of the NDIS. Technology partners that are invested in the Australian disability support sector will keep pace with changes, no matter how complex.
For example, as a platform designed specifically for human services, GoodHuman addresses all policy and compliance updates as soon as they arise. For software platforms that service a wide range of industries and aren’t designed for the NDIS, you could be waiting months or even years for these updates, when it becomes a large enough problem for enough users.
2. Can the software evolve with your organisation?
A lot of the issues that disability support organisations have with NDIS software is that it’s what’s known as ‘legacy software’. That is, technology that was fit for an original purpose that you’ve long outgrown.
Finding an NDIS-ready technology partner that can evolve alongside your organisation is one of the best ways to set yourself up for future success. Any new technology should be easy to update and integrate with existing software you continue to use, or have simple solutions to replace them to avoid a build-up of software that needs to replicate information across multiple systems.
This is why NDIS providers such as Fighting Chance have chosen GoodHuman to replace a multitude of software solutions and office tools that were eating away at valuable time. Fighting Chance IT Manager, Peter Ebborn, explains.
“We’re not an IT organisation, our focus has to be on providing support services, not on doing admin work,” says Peter.
“Our training managers should be writing content, but instead their time was eaten up by rostering. Our frontline team members spent two hours every afternoon journaling customer notes. It’s dead time and it’s not always accurate after-the-fact. We were driven to find a solution that could help us focus on prioritising support, not just managing admin,” he says.
Learn more about Peter’s approach to productivity and adopting new processes in The NDIS Leadership Playbook.
3. How will your systems integrate?
Speaking of integrations, most service providers on the NDIS find themselves trying to bring together an expensive suite of applications, such as:
- A Client Management System for new enquiries and marketing
- A separate Client Management System for record-keeping and client records
- Payroll and finance systems for invoicing
- Rostering and time attendance software for NDIS workforce management
In most cases, you need someone to input information across all systems, which rarely happens in reality when people are time-poor. Even if the systems have basic integration, they all have different passwords, different interfaces and create records of events after they’ve happened rather than in real-time.
When looking for solutions for things like NDIS invoicing, rostering, and workforce management, it’s important to assess how these systems will talk to one another. Can you use a single solution to manage all of this data? If not, who will be responsible for keeping a single-source of information that can be easily referred to for reporting and auditing purposes?
4. Will your employees actually use it?
Your software is only as good as the data inputted into it. If you have a system that requires too much manual input and replication, the takeup is going to be low. This leads to sunk-costs and trouble when it comes to compliance, with no single-source of information available for auditing.
At Fighting Chance, frontline support workers had been relying on spreadsheets to track goals and customer information. These spreadsheets were frequently crashing and losing critical information, which impacts both compliance and customers who rely on these records for consistency of care.
Despite these issues, employees were hesitant to change their ways because it was simple. As a result, a priority for Fighting Chance when looking for new software was to find an easy, user-friendly solution that would show real and immediate benefits to the people using it outside the office.
“It’s important not to think of new software as a tech project, but as a business-led project. The focus should be on how to support staff and customers to get a better experience everyday, rather than introducing another bit of technology,” explains Peter.
It doesn’t matter how much an IT team loves a solution if frontline support staff have no interest in using it. The challenge for leaders when looking for new solutions is to find something that can not only manage the heavy lifting of administration — but also be easy (even enjoyable!) enough for a wide range of users to adopt quickly. This could mean taking a system for a test drive with a select group of staff to test its usability or even just checking out the app store ratings on employee-based apps before committing to a new system.
5. How will this solution benefit your customers?
Your teams aren’t the only stakeholders to consider when looking for the best NDIS software solutions. Inefficient processes can lead to long wait times for customers. Asking NDIS participants and their families to repeat their care information over and over also causes unnecessary distress and makes customers feel undervalued. There are many ways that technology can support not just productivity, but also facilitate more considerate and impactful interactions with clients.
When reviewing NDIS software, consider real-life scenarios that take place in your organisation every day to consider how your technology can support teams. Considerations should include:
- How will we treat customer care information?
- Can this software help us process incident reports and emergency information?
- Can we easily match our support workers with customer requirements?
- How will we access customer plans to ensure invoicing is completed accurately?
- Can we reduce wait times for customers?
- Can we improve our staff knowledge and customer outcomes?
- Can the rostering handle group services, complex needs and support ratios as required?
A technology partner that creates purpose-built solutions for the NDIS should be able to help you address all of these questions, specific to your operation.
6. Can you get local support?
The process of moving to a new technology platform will be all the smoother if you can speak to someone locally who really understands your operation and processes. Look for technology partners that offer local support and can tailor your onboarding process to ensure your organisation is set up in the most productive and effective way for what you need.
Great technology is only one piece of the puzzle
The best NDIS software is one that is easy to learn, user-friendly and evolves to keep pace with changes in the industry. But software isn’t the only thing that will help overcome the inefficiencies of delivering exceptional services on the NDIS.
Find out how two leaders in the disability support industry are challenging the status quo to innovate and overcome the roadblocks to efficiencies in their human services organisations in our latest download: The NDIS Leadership Playbook.