Bringing Care Home

KinCare

KinCare, at the forefront of home-based health support services, is blazing the trail for service providers and those needing care in the ever evolving industry of home support services.

With an emphasis on quality care, innovative applications of technology and a commitment to client experience, the organisation continues to prove that it is committed to providing the best experience possible for its clients.

KinCare has enabled countless elderly people to continue to live healthy lives in the comfort of their homes whilst receiving the support they need. The approach empowers Australians to remain in their homes and in their communities.

Margaret Howie began KinCare in 1992, with just sixteen clients, and it remains a family owned and operated business to this day. Margaret’s passion for elder care is represented through the group’s commitment to quality service and community based support and is even expressed through the company’s name.

By 2000, demand for the company’s services required the further development of management strategies for the company, and KinCare took steps to reorganise to meet the ever growing market of the aging Australian population. In 2001, Jason Howie, having extensive experience in the industry as well as in accounting and management, took the position of Managing Director. “At the end of 2000, I took on this role with about five people in the office and have continued to grow over the years since,” he shares.

As of today, the company has expanded to include more than 2000 staff members serving more than 10 000 clients across the country.

The fact that KinCare has operated since 1992 as a family owned and operated business engenders a certain quality of personalised care for patients, which is supported throughout the organisation and provides clients the comfort of knowing that the company is interested in a long-term investment in their health and well-being. “The shareholders aren’t looking for a very quick, short-term return, which allows the organisation to be quite focused on its values and the quality of care that it’s delivering and the relationships that it’s building with clients and staff.”

KinCare’s capacity to make decisions while quickly adapting to change is a significant advantage given by its organisation. The fluidity provides a clear competitive advantage against both corporate for-profit organisations and consensus driven not-for-profit groups. “We can match them up in those areas of values and mission because of the commitment that shareholders have to that,” says Jason.

Through continual organic growth, and more recently acquisition, the company has seen significant growth throughout Australia and today boasts an incredible team of healthcare professionals providing a range of support services to thousands of clients. It is recognised as an industry leader, shaping the discussion of elder care in Australia and regularly contributing during industry forums.

Jason defines the company through the six core service types it delivers into clients’ homes throughout Australia: respite care, social support, personal care, domestic assistance, transport and health services. The benefit for clients able to receive care in their homes, avoiding the need to relocate or travel regularly for services, is well understood in the industry, and the company is at the forefront of the gradual movement toward home-based care as an alternative to institutional care.

“I think that we’ve still got a lot of opportunities as a community to expand the type of services that we deliver, especially in health services,” says Jason, “where there’s still a mindset in Australia that most services will be delivered through an institution.”

Though this mindset is changing, thanks in part to the great success of service providers like KinCare, he recognises that a great deal of development needs to happen before the industry can meet the needs of all potential service recipients. “A lot of stakeholders need to be involved in this development: existing infrastructure, medical professionals, unions and governments. So, in order for it to develop, we are going to have to come together over the next decades and will gradually take steps in that direction.”

Major advancements in technology will also allow KinCare to move toward an even more integrated approach to aged-care and in-home health care, such as developments in information technology, assistive devices and patient monitoring. Not only will these developments provide a significant reduction in costs – savings clients can expect to share – but will also improve client results through the ability to continually monitor health data. “This increased reliance on technology will be an enormous benefit to the industry, employees and, most importantly, to clients receiving services at home.”

Without this development, in-home care services would quickly reach a crisis point with an inability to provide enough skilled workers to deliver all the services that would be required within the next twenty years. Projections that employee to client ratio will shrink over the next twenty years makes technology use even more vital. “Technology is a part of the solution; utilisation is part of the solution, but attracting people into the industry from other areas is also important in navigating through some of the upcoming challenges the industry faces.”

One of KinCare’s most recent applications of information technology comes in the form of a “bring your own device” mobile based application which service providers use to develop care plans, update client info on the go and monitor client schedules. This allows employees to conduct business directly and immediately in each client’s home and gives the professionals access to continually updated real-time data about clients’ health. “It is a platform we use across the organisation which allows every employee to communicate electronically, in real time.” Employees and clients can also use their own devices to quickly and easily make changes to appointments without having to call the office.

With plans to continue to update its back end systems, the company expects to continue to innovate in the area of communications and incorporate even more of its business into its mobile application increasing the efficient delivery of its services. “We’re seeing great results,” Jason shares.

The growth in client monitoring technology has allowed the company to provide much earlier interventions and more accurately determine health trends throughout time. Those clients who do not enjoy regular physical visits by staff can appreciate the security of knowing that their health can be monitored remotely while staff visits can be kept to a minimum. Indeed, “Better results often costs less money, and this is an example of it.”

With a simultaneous focus on client experience and health outcomes, KinCare has been able to do both much more effectively and inexpensively through the deep incorporation of emerging technology. Although technology will be part of the solution of meeting upcoming changes, the other half, client experience, continues to become more important as client options expand. Now, clients are looking for ever more unique and personalised services from providers, and the company is able to ensure that each client is consistently delivered more than they expect through authentically responding to their wants and needs.

“Client experience has not been examined across the industry, and work must be done to move from a mindset that our government is our customer to a mindset that the client is the customer,” explains Jason. “Ultimately, the client is going to determine if you are a successful organisation or not.”

Moving forward, KinCare’s clients can expect the group to continue to navigate the quickly expanding and changing health services industry in a manner that keeps clients at the forefront. The company is committed to continually better client experience through consistent innovation in the areas of technology, service design, employment models and the experience that clients and staff have with the organisation.

As a result of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Jason expects increasing involvement in disability services. He recognises that, as a result, this area will become an even more important part of the group’s portfolio.

He also foresees great challenges to come amidst an industry currently undergoing great change and reform, with uncertain economic models on the horizon. Though uncertainties exist, the team at KinCare is excited by the changes they see, and can be proud of the innovative service delivery advances the company has made. “The path ahead is a very positive one and a very exciting one with a lot of opportunity,” says Jason.

From the assumption that services must be delivered by an institution, to the understanding that better health services must start in the home of each Australian, the movement toward a system that recognises that people thrive in their homes is a welcoming change. “If we designed the health care system from the ground up now, we wouldn’t start from an institution, we would start from a client in their home – that is a very important part of the journey that we need to work toward.”

For more information about KinCare, please visit http://www.kincare.com.au.

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