The Department of Health is implementing an aged care system to meet Australia’s future needs. Recently, it made improvements to this system, in direct response to input from service providers and older Australians.
In an innovative and collaborative way, the Department made these improvements through two linked streams: changes to the digital systems and aligned updates to policies and processes.
My Aged Care, a government initiative, connects people with aged care services. Consisting of a website and a contact centre, it gives older people more choice, more control and easier access to the services they need.
In 2016, the Department of Health reviewed the implementation of My Aged Care. They asked ThinkPlace to help check how well the system was meeting the needs of its users and see if improvements could be made.
We held a range of co-design workshops to understand users’ experiences with My Aged Care. Participants came from all states and territories and represented health practitioners, service providers, assessors and consumers.
These workshops generated over 600 insights into how the system could be improved. Collectively, we gathered these insights into key themes and prioritised them for implementation.
We then conducted a period of accelerated design. The workshops had told us that we needed to change both the digital systems, and the policies and processes behind them.
We formed two design teams, one for systems and the other for process. Team members came from government staff, as well as representatives from service provider and consumer organisations.
Using agile principles and human-centred design, we progressively implemented changes to improve the online portal and the contact centre, and the processes that guided their operation.
We created an online Accelerated Design Tracker, so that those who contributed to the workshops, and other stakeholders, could track the improvements as they were being made.
By providing transparency in how user’s comments were translated into tangible improvements, the Department built trust with consumers and service providers. Collaborative design work improved relationships between the Government and the broader aged care sector and stakeholders.
The results were user-centred policy changes and an improved online portal for older Australians and service providers. Improvements continue to be made through progressive design steps, to the benefit of Australia’s aged care system.