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Silverchain case study Overview

Customer profile:

Silver Chain Western Australia provides a number of community, clinical and health care services including specialist nursing, palliative care, home care and support, and allied health. Their services help keep people independent for as long as possible

  • in their own homes and communities
  • including the elderly, people with acute illnesses, disabilities and injuries.

In 2011, Silver Chain and RDNS South Australia merged to become one of the largest in-home health and care providers in Australia. Silver Chain Group now counts over 3,000 staff and 400 volunteers, and the Group assists over 74,000 people to remain living in their homes and community each year.

Business situation:

Silver Chain developed the ComCare application 25 years ago in order to better manage their around-the-clock activities. With the demographic expansion and the rise of mobile technology, Silver Chain wanted to take advantage of this era by developing new applications to help conduct their business.

Solution:

Silver Chain WA started as a small nursing facility in the early 1900s. As the century passed by, Silver Chain acquired other facilities across WA, and provided supplementary services such as home care and support.

With the city population and the organisation expanding, Silver Chain started to subcontract their services to independent companies and providers.

Silver Chain selected Connected Systems to develop four applications; Service Provider Availability (SPA – the focus of this document), which is externally used by their providers, and three additional applications used within the organisation: CMAS, CDC and IT portal.

Benefits of Service Provider Availability (SPA):

  • Identify available providers for a specific area or service
  • Manage providers’ responses and activities
  • Assess the most demanded services per area

“As a technology oriented organisation, we are continuously aiming for technological improvement that will lead Silver Chain to better care procurement. Connected Sytems has proven its ability to understand and manage the most complex projects: they always hit the mark for us.”

- Vilko Poznovia,

IT Manager, Silver Chain

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The situation

Plural procurement:

In 2011, the WA Department of Health separated the delivery of Western Australia’s Community Care Services into four regions: Silver Chain covers 25% of the Community Care Services initiative.

In order to meet this potential demand for Community Care Services, Silver Chain employs providers directly to provide requested services and subcontracts other services to independent providers in regions or specialty areas of services where Silver Chain has no coverage.

No matter which service their clients require, Silver Chain is able to dispatch the best provider in the targeted areas thanks to its expansive network.

Service Provider Availability:

Silver Chain wears three different hats when matching services to clients and staff:

  • First, they assess the client’s needs using their own assessors or their subcontractors.
  • Second, they provide or subcontract these services to the clients, and;
  • Lastly, co-ordinate all the activities between their inhouse assessors and providers, the independent assessors and providers, and the hospitals and the clients.

The database of assessors, providers and clients were formerly listed in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and the tasks were assigned via email. Clients used to ring Silver Chain, and Silver Chain would send assessors to identify their needs. The issue was that the availability of the providers was uncertain; Silver Chain needed to go through all the list of providers until a match was found. These lists were sometimes out of date and it was difficult for others to access and edit the files without Silver Chain knowing who it was, or what was edited. This was hard to manage and maintain, and was excruciatingly time consuming.

Community Care:

This plurality of procurement brought Silver Chain to design a program called Community Care, which was developed 25 years ago.

Commonly known as ComCare, the application was developed and implemented to manage planning and activities of staff across WA.

Unfortunately, ComCare was not available on mobile devices. Providers thus could only access their schedule on a computer at home, and write it down to take with them.

“We wear three different hats, and ComCare no longer had the ability to turn around the changes we needed to support SPA quickly and with such comprehensive knowledge.”

The Solution

The goal:

Silver Chain engaged Connected Systems to develop several applications to improve the management of providers and clients on one hand, and also the internal management on the other hand.

Four applications were deployed over time; one externally used, and three internally.

External application – Service Provider Availability (SPA):

Service Provider Availability (SPA) was built to display available service providers for the requested service, in a specific area. Providers need to register on SPA in order to be eligible for an assignment, and can be rated by Silver Chain after the service has been provided. In other words, SPA is a “service matching” tool enabling Silver Chain to find the best provider for the requested service.

It allows Silver Chain to:

  • Identify providers for a specific area
  • Idenitify providers for a specific service
  • Check their availability instantly
  • Manage providers’ responses and activities
  • Assess the most demanded services per area
  • Build reports on all of the above

The SPA application, although written and developed for Silver Chain, has been gifted by Silver Chain to Red Cross WA, which covers 50% of the Perth region. As Silver Chain manages 25% of it, SPA is now available and used in 75% of the metropolitan region.

“Our biggest aim as a not-for-profit organisation is to help people. SPA is a useful tool that we wanted to share with Red Cross for our common objective of providing health and community care.”

Later on, SPA was also rolled out to the rest of WA providers, and donated to Blue Care, one of Queensland’s community care providers. They directly acknowledged the great features of SPA, and the time and cost savings it brought along.

SPA is a client and provider service-matching tool that has brought so many benefits that we decided to donate it to other care organisations in the pursuit of our common purpose of helping people.”

Internal applications:

  1. Continence Management and Advice Service (CMAS) application

    The Continence Management and Advice Service is a statewide clinical service provided by Silver Chain, offering community-based management and advice for people who have ongoing continence conditions. CMAS is jointly co-ordinated by the WA Department of Health, which is responsible for the clinical service, and the WA Disability Services Commission, which has responsibility for the product subsidy.

    Thanks to the CMAS application, Silver Chain can:

    • Receive applications from providers
    • Assess the providers’ eligibility
    • Co-ordinate the clients needs with the providers availability
    • Manage complaints and follow up
  2. Consumer Directed Care (CDC) application

    The WA Department of Health allows a certain amount of care packages per service provider. The packages usually consist of a determined duration of care and a predefined portfolio of services to provide. “It is up to the business units to juggle the care packages, and make sure they are used efficiently. The CDC application allows us to better manage those packages.”

    It allows Silver Chain to:

    • Instantly identify where the packages are being provided
    • Assess the demand of packages per condition or area
    • Manage the history of provided packages
  3. IT portal

    IT portal is an application used across all the departments of Silver Chain, including for most IT-related procurement, such as the purchase of new equipment, or the repair cycles of fixed and mobile devices.

    It allows employees to:

    • Report an issue with the equipment or system
    • Track repair process
    • Register purchases of new equipment
    • Identify owners and users of each device
    “As the IT Manager, I wanted a tool that could increase visibility of service and equipment repairs in my department, and ensure a high quality of service in the delivery of equipment repairs to mobile devices to both employees and providers.”

Benefits

“For Silver Chain as a business, the four applications all deliver increased productivity and considerably ease our dependence on procedures.”

Silver Chain has always been technology-oriented , and we are continuously aiming for technological improvement that will lead to better care procurement and enhanced services for our clients. Therefore, our collaboration with Connected Systems for the deployment of new applications or features is a daily matter.”

“It allowed us to shift from a time-consuming and disorganised management to a complete and distinct platform providing one-click access to all our essential information. SPA enables us to provide the fastest and best service possible to our clients thanks to its ranking of best suitable providers per area.”

Partnering with Connected Systems

Connected Systems’ team is highly professional, I always trust their know-how and professional execution. They know what they’re doing, and it’s not just about the job, it’s also about the service; they come up with new ideas and projects, they are extremely responsive, and you can tell they’re more than happy to help. I would say that our working relationship is mutually beneficial.

I have seen Connected Systems grow over the years, and I’m not surprised with their success. Connected Systems is able to understand and engage with different kinds of industries, and always offer the best service, this is why they are in high demand and well respected at Silver Chain.”

- Vilko Poznovia,

IT Manager, Silver Chain