How digitisation helps the aged care sector adapt to growing demand
Across the globe, and particularly across the Asia-Pacific region, the population is getting older. People are living longer and having fewer children, causing a disproportionate growth in demand for services like in-home care, short-term care, aged hospice and institutional aged care.
The numbers tell the story well. By 2050, one in four people across the Asia-Pacific will be over 60 years old. That’s close to 1.3 billion people. While older people these days generally consider themselves to be in good health — and many can live independently well into their senior years — there is no doubt that an exponentially ageing population will have a ripple effect across the aged care sector. Indeed, the main users of aged care services tend to be people aged over 85, and by 2050, the “oldest-old” (80 years or older) will make up about one-fifth of all older persons in the region.
The pressure on the aged care sector is also compounded by other demographic and cultural changes across Asia. In many Asian cultures, it was once expected that children would support their older parents — yet this practice of family care is diminishing as a result of smaller families, higher divorce rates, fewer children living with parents, and greater financial pressures.
A shifting aged care system
With all this in mind, governments across the region are being forced to rethink aged care strategies. For example, the Singaporean government has made it a priority to come up with new solutions for aged care — and is exploring concepts like integrated care.
Integrated care allows older people to ‘age in place’, with their health and social needs met at home instead of in institutional aged care. Importantly, research has shown that older people who ‘age in place’ have a better quality of life and are happier than those in aged care homes.
Not only that, but the ‘age in place’ model also reduces the burden on institutional aged care services, where places are becoming increasingly scarce. Yet the rapid growth of at-home care will increase the burden on community services and aged care providers who offer home care.
To help cope with the growing demand — and to support the rapid on-boarding of service providers at scale — the time is ripe for outdated, manual processes to be replaced with automated, digital systems. Why? Because anything still done on paper takes up unnecessary admin time and budget, which could be better spent on delivering high quality aged care services.
Making the switch to digital agreements
By replacing paper-based processes with digital agreements, both government agencies and aged care providers can work smarter and faster — reducing errors, accelerating approval processes, and ultimately delivering care to senior citizens sooner. For example, in Australia, Arcare has automated processes across admissions, administration and HR by integrating DocuSign into their Salesforce CRM. Now, over 80% of their processes are digitised and they are saving on average 100,000 sheets of paper every year.
For senior citizens wanting to sign up for an aged care service, digital processes can help make an often stressful time as easy as possible. For example, intuitive and easy-to-use web forms guide them through the onboarding process — one simple screen at a time. Using eSignature and DocuSign Payments, they can complete their applications in one easy sitting, all from the comfort of their own homes.
And behind the scenes, aged care providers can leverage DocuSign’s Open APIs and over 400 pre-built connectors to integrate into the line-of-business tools they use every day, so there’s minimal need for retraining or upskilling of staff.