The Federal Minister for Aged Care, the Hon. Key Wyatt, has announced the proposed implementation of recommendations from the Carnell-Paterson Review, including a new independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, and a Serious Incident Response Scheme.
The objectives are to ensure that consumers are able to view publicly available ratings of aged care providers, against quality standards and that serious complaints are handed in a judicious manner.
While it is essential that accountability and transparency, be mandatory for age care providers, it is a sad indictment that bad news makes good headlines. It is however the lasting ‘false’ perceptions of widespread poor service that is being addressed.
These days, it is more common that not, to be asked to rate ‘customer service and response rate’, much to the annoyance of many consumers. However as consumers 97% of us, will read an online review before making a purchase, and 85% trust the recommendations of a friend or family member. Therefore ratings make a huge difference in the customer journey.
Government ratings on aged care providers will play an important screening tool for many consumers when making the difficult decision about choosing an aged care provider.
All transactions regarding aged care for Australian Government funded services are completed through the My Aged Care website, providing the Australian Government the opportunity to capture response and utilise the site to add rankings.
There are similarly designed tools currently in place in the health care sector, such as Whitecoat.
Whitecoat.com.au is a website that rates and reviews health practitioners against measures including, timeliness, listening skills, treatment explanation and likelihood to recommend. The accompanying smart phone app, enables a consumer to book appointments and claim them against a variety of health funds.
Whether we like to face it or not, a contested marketplace, regulatory reporting and a proposed review and ranking of aged care providers will require a ‘re-think’ about how statistical information is gathered within organisations.
For communication managers and marketing professionals the challenge, is to understand customer segmentation, journey and experience, to ignite brand activation and differentiation and provide evidence-based outcomes of the quality of care that an individual aged care provider is offering.
Decision making regarding the choice of aged care provider, has far greater emotional impact and ramifications, than the simple purchase of a product.
The time is now to ensure that collection measures are in place.