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“Purpose is being seen as the new
genetic code for business.”
A nonstop customer is one who is comfortable in the digital
marketplace and whose journey to purchase is no longer linear but
involves multiple channels of evaluation, re-evaluation and enquiry.
So while the Age Lab example might seem a bit farfetched or
only available to the economically secure older Australian, the
availability of these services will change the landscape of aged care
and social services.
THE REFORM HORIZON
Significant change being driven at the policy level is reforming the
way governments fund and contract for services to better reflect a
The primary objective of this reform is to ensure the long-term
sustainability of services to the community in the face of finite
The aged care sector
is poised to operate in an
environment that is closer
to a free market model
with greater deregulation
through changes in
government policy. The
Federal Government has already announced the planned removal
of the Aged Care Approvals Round for home care packages from
Many organisations have seen the writing on the wall and have begun
to get ready for a more open marketplace for aged care and caring.
As a result, we are already seeing new models and players enter
the marketplace, as well as market exits. These have also been
highlighted as some of the key trends to watch.
• Disruptive models such as web platforms Better Caring, Find A
Carer and CareSeekers, which provide an independent care and
support worker network for hire similar in concept to the US tech
startups HomeHero and Honor.
• Providers with diversified product offerings such as wellness
centres and onsite GP clinics.
• Mergers, consolidations and IPO activity.
Historically, the not-for-profit sector has dominated in the
delivery of aged care services across Australia. These organisations
are committed to investing their surplus to achieving their mission
and returning broader societal benefits. These commitments enable
them to seek various taxation benefits.
Many are predicting the balance in the aged care sector is set
to be tipped in favour of for-profit providers and that is almost
inevitable. They point to the US, UK and NZ experience as evidence
to support this argument.
WHAT DEFINES US ALSO DIVIDES US
The polemics of the for-profit and not-for-profit debate are well-
rehearsed across a range of sectors and industries. Depending
on where you sit in the debate you will examine the issue from
are seen as enjoying a
competitive advantage – tax
benefits – over their for-profit
counterparts. On the other
hand, for-profit providers are
characterised as focusing
on achieving profit through driving costs down which may impact
negatively on service quality.
In a recent journal article titled Residential Aged Care Policy in
Australia – are we learning from evidence? Richard Baldwin and colleagues
concluded that a short review of the international literature suggests
“there are differences in outcomes for residents between services
operated by not-for-profits and for-profit providers (not-for-profit
providers deliver higher quality of care)...” However, the authors did
caution that “Australia has a different structural pattern to other
countries which may limit comparability.” While neither argument
has been tested in Australia they remain embedded in the polemic.
It is likely this debate will continue with the reform agenda and this
will hurt all aged care providers.
It represents a level of navel-gazing and discourse which, while
of interest to service providers, does not have resonance with
consumers. What we should be focussing on, and putting our
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