I am always inspired and energised when I see technology harnessed to increase someone’s quality of life. So it was with much excitement that the team at GoodHuman recently took part in the Disability Services Digital and Technology Transformation Forum — a topic close to my heart and at the very core of our business.
As a guest speaker at the event, the theme of my talk was The Future of The Connected Experience.
I chose this topic and am sharing it again here today, because it’s something I’m expressly passionate about. At the event I heard how many of you are too. After all, when you think about it, that is what makes human services so unique as an industry. It’s a connected experience.
I was first introduced to the world of disability support as a young kid. Growing up, my Mum gave up her job as a nurse to become a full-time carer when her best friend, Maryanne, was diagnosed with MS. My mother dedicated more than 30 years of her life to connecting the dots and people around Maryanne. She responded to change with compassion, ensuring everyone always knew how to get the best outcome for her friend on any given day.
Support for Maryanne wasn’t Mum’s responsibility alone as an individual. She was what I like to call a “super connector”. Long before the internet era, she would wield a notepad and phone (corded to the wall, of course!), coordinating doctors, a physio, OT, psychologist, driver, house cleaners, shoppers, travel, evening and weekend care and so much more.
My family’s care journey didn’t end there. 20 years after Maryanne’s diagnosis, my older brother Michael was also diagnosed with MS. Around my brother, we again worked to connect the dots of support.
Today, in the age of the NDIS and the internet, we have more choices. Yet somehow, the difficulty of navigating our way to these choices means it’s never been more challenging.
Our recent customer research showed how difficult it is for people to navigate these systems, even the super connectors. Three-quarters of customers (75%) on the NDIS said they wished the process of accessing support services were simpler. Between the challenges of finding the right support to having to explain their story and concerns from chapter one with every new face — accessing support is exhausting. I know it’s been exhausting for our family and it’s exhausting for your customers.
Human services runs on connection, technology in the sector can too
Consider the connected ecosystem of your own support organisation. Even the largest disability support organisations never work in isolation. Each one taps into a rich network of health professionals, hospitals, government agencies — even other providers within referral networks.
The intricacies of these networks is the industry’s strength and shortcoming. Once established, it can provide amazing outcomes — but getting there causes a great deal of friction and frustration.
Recently, we’ve seen the emergence of companies that are attempting to transform technology within the industry by using apps to connect people directly to support workers. They are doing a great job at addressing the modern demand and expectations of customers in the sector, but we’re talking about human services. Not transport, not hotels, not retail. There can be a place for this on-demand model, but innovation in the disability sector shouldn’t be reliant on individuals.
The power (and complexity) of the industry comes down to the connections within it.
True digital transformation in the industry needs to support that, with a platform that supports this multitude of connections that both customers and organisations rely on.
What is a connected platform and how can it transform human services?
A connected platform is a technology solution that works in the background to connect the dots in complex systems and operations, while the person using it only sees the information they need. It unifies and simplifies the management of devices, software, and processes. The purpose is to put customers at the centre of the experience, creating simplicity in their lives while workflows are built around them to get information to the right places.
You are already using systems like this whenever you buy a new pair of shoes online, order food from your couch, or book an Uber. Could it be that easy to choose and access support from the organisations people know and trust? It can, it should, and it will be.
While there are similarities between what we’re using today in our personal lives, a connected platform for human services doesn’t have to mean ‘disruption’. Technology doesn’t need to replace the current disability support model, but focus on trusted providers as the key to supporting people. It should let the experts do what they do best, but in a way that is simpler for customers to access and engage with.
The GoodHuman vision for human services
So what would it look like to put the customer at the centre of a connected platform for the disability support industry? Our vision is that anyone could be connected to support with incredible ease.
Connecting to trusted providers to access approved and appropriate services for specific support requirements should be as simple as using an app. Using GoodHuman, everyone will have choice and control over their support network in a way that works for them.
For support organisations on the provider side, it works more like an operating system than a piece of software. Customers with an approved NDIS plan can be matched with the right people within your workforce, their billing is automated and charged accurately to the latest NDIS price guide, their history and notes are available to the right people, whenever it’s needed.
Support teams, administrators, managers, customers and even families can use dedicated apps to access the one platform. This allows everyone to connect and share the right information, leaving no questions unanswered. All with secure privacy controls and managed access.
Suddenly support organisations are empowered to provide more meaningful and tailored services, while drastically reducing the workload of team members.
The future of the connected experience
Why hasn’t this happened before now? Because for a long time, the systems that manage these processes and regulations have been disjointed or need manual work to speak to each other.
Sometimes when I hear people talk about digital transformation, they’re only expanding on what already exists. Taking things from a manual world to a digital one. From a spreadsheet to an interface. It can help, but it’s not customer-centric and it’s not driving the industry forward to improve support outcomes.
To truly transform technology in human services, we need to simplify the complex but incredibly powerful connected network of both people accessing services and those providing them. To harness technology that ‘gets out of the way’ and lets humans do what they do best.
This vision is already becoming a reality. Come and take a look at what we’ve built with GoodHuman’s connected platform (you can watch a two-minute demo here). Or have a chat to our team about whether this solution is right for your support organisation.