3 Steps to choosing a Case Management System in time for the NDIS Rollout
With the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) this year, the country will see what is arguably the biggest change in social funding since the introduction of Medicare in 1984. Such a grand scale of change is set to have major impacts on all levels of infrastructure from Government through NGOs and down to all levels of local businesses and people in the street.
Bringing with it a complete change in how the Government funds disabilities (with other funded sectors also mooted for the same), the NDIS will see service providers having to completely modify their business models and technology in order to remain sustainable. This is to preserve preference amidst peers, in an ever increasing competitive environment in what is set to become a huge potential market for for previously non-involved sectors of industry.
New Tools for the Job
As the sector realigns itself to meet these new challenges, the need for new technologies has become increasingly apparent – one such area has been the demand for Case Management Systems (CMS).
The move from block to end user funding by the Government will see the need for increased management of client information. This data, which under the new NDIS system will be subject to much higher levels of activity, will need to be handled in a manner that respects the privacy of the client whilst being accessible enough so that an organisation is able to operate efficiently.
Many organisations may feel that their existing systems may be sufficient, the potential size and complexity of the new funding environment should encourage organisations to review and reassess their present capabilities with a view to future growth and expansion. As such, it can be expected that many service providers will need to purchase or at the minimum upgrade their current CMS system.
So What Makes a Good CMS System?
Choosing a CMS for your organisation is a huge undertaking. Unlike most technology purchases, the decision on which CMS track to follow is dependent on a complex number of variables. With the NDIS model being such a new concept (within the disability sector), there is little historical information available on which to make plans or base decisions.
Many CMS systems on offer are hybrids of similar type systems tried in different (non disability) sectors and while there has been a plethora of systems coming to market – many are untried within the NDIS environment and their ability to operate under true NDIS conditions is uncertain.
What is certain in this environment is that organisations must take stock of their present position, their assets and capabilities and project these forward to compare them against their growth strategy. Forecasting again becomes a critical factor – both operationally AND financially.
Once an organisation is aware of how they sit within their operating environment, they have a better chance of ascertaining their CMS requirements. Size and scale of operation become critical factors in determining the best CMS fit along with your financial and HR systems.
Where to Start
- Talk to your Departments
Find out from your own departments, what they actually need from the prospective system and in the same manner, find out what or how they expect the system to perform – don’t just assume that every person within your organisation has exactly the same requirements and understanding of how things work.
- Categorise Needs by Importance
After clarifying the specific features needed for your CMS system, begin by categorising them in importance – this will make things easier when it comes to evaluating different systems.
Like most major purchases, it is a good idea to work towards establishing a shortlist of three to four suitable products.The matching of a prospective product’s features against your own organisational requirements can now be made.
Some important factors must be considered when setting these shortlists. Some of the more important being security and privacy of information. How the data is secured and stored or backed up. With many systems now being cloud-based, the requirements for safety and security cannot be underestimated.
Another factor (coming somewhat under the pricing banner) is the service and support of the product – is support included or is additional support at a cost? This is very important as the systems rolls out across your organisation. It is difficult to estimate approximate support costs as the new system starts to integrate with your established systems.
As your client base increases , will you need to expand your system to accommodate growth? Again, consider if system upgrades are cost inclusive or if this additional cost will need to be budgeted for in the future.
One important feature is to ensure that any and all technologies fit with the upstream Government access portals.
“ …for efficiency the Sector will need to invest in areas such as information technology and advised that they would need a clear indication from the NDIA on processes to ensure that their systems are aligned. ”
– Queensland NDIS Transitional Advisory Group posted Monday 07 Dec 2015 –
Overall importance must be given to the ability of the product to integrate with your established or planned systems. This is important and can make a difference between having to purchase a CMS standalone system or having to upgrade to a (sometimes unnecessary) ERP system.
We have come across some CMS systems and have put together a small comparison – check out our article CMS … Which Is Right for You?