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The Aged Care Industry’s Leading Web Browserbased EHR Platform

As the aged care clinical and operational software pioneer of Australia and New Zealand, Leecare Solutions has now set its sights on a new challenge, and as such, over the past three years it has worked hard to become Singapore’s selected premier aged care solution. We spoke to CEO and Managing Director Dr Caroline Lee, who has been named as APAC Insider’s CEO of the Year, as we look to further explore the secrets behind the company’s success in Singapore and how the company drew on its vast industry experience to achieve this.

Since 1997, Leecare has implemented its professional software in Australia, and the first New Zealand installation was deployed in 2002, with the company moving into Singapore in 2015. In all three of these markets, the company’s core structure is based on the professional nursing and quality process, which is designed to help providers’ management and staff save time, meet their quality standards’ and professional, regulatory obligations whilst optimising their funding claims as relevant, using a recognisable method.

Providing a wealth of services, Leecare’s client base includes the best, leading organisations within Australia and New Zealand who are focused on quality care and outcomes and Leecare is proud to have been selected by these exceptional organisations.

With offices now in Melbourne, Wellington and Singapore, the company’s 40 strong Leecare team of experienced, expert aged care and IT professionals, support its ‘not for profit’ and ‘not for loss’ premier aged care organisations in each country, including many Australian State government owned sites. The country’s current Enterprise level deployments include single installations with 9,500 active clients/residents (and growing), but also smaller 10 bed client installations to ensure it continues its mission to support all residents, clients, staff and management in the aged care sector.

Moreover, the firm is also intensely cognisant of data security and health data regulations, and as such, Leecare supports all clients, ensuring they have their own installation in either their infrastructure or on the company’s Cloud as preferred, with only two requested SAAS installations for multi-organisation groups who have combined resources to implement this option which the team can also support.

Currently, Leecare supports over 650 aged care organisations’ through the implementation and sustained deployment of the Platinum5 clinical and operations’ software suite. The company’s six program suite, which has been developed and deployed since 1997, includes its Platinum5 clinical and lifestyle management solution; P5Exec: the operations and quality management support system, P5Med which involves all medication management processes; P5Finance, which includes accounts payable, receivable, general ledger and other speciality finance management features required by an aged care organisation; and, finally, Leecare’s P5Pharmacy messaging and its P5Mobile Applications.

As pioneers in the market, unlike other aged care software vendors, since 1992 Leecare has provided expert consulting and education support to the sector, always focused on aged and community care nursing, and provider success. This meant that the company’s very first software version, and every subsequent version, has been built on the professional principles and processes that the team has advised and worked on and continue to do so, with clients on the ground. The team has continued to grow and support clients, with relevant additional features provided by the expert, in-house, Leecare development team.

Boasting a sterling reputation throughout the APAC region, Leecare, alongside its clients, have won more Australian IT in aged care (ITAC), Information Technology implementation and Best Software Awards than any other product, having also supported more services to successfully achieve maximum accreditation and certification outcomes than any other software in the countries it is deployed in. Caroline believes this is due to Leecare’s structure being designed by nurses and aged care managers, who work closely with the software development team to ensure its target audience needs are always at the forefront of any design change. Caroline talks to us about the vision of the company and the extra mile that the team goes to in order to do the best for its clients.

“Here at Leecare, we are focused on being able to be used via any device, on any platform and any browser, to save infrastructure and on the ground costs in a strapped for cash sector, and retaining a reputation of being the leading professional electronic health record platform in the sector.”

With Caroline holding a PHD in Gerontology, she is well placed to lead by example and help the team at Leecare adopt a process in which the client receives the best possible outcome. As such, she is intimately involved in the design of any new functional requirements or changes, meaning she is able to ensure the development outcomes remain focused on the resident, and practical on the ground staff and management needs. Caroline talks about the internal culture within the company, and what methods the team implements in order to guarantee that clients will receive the highest quality of service and results.

“Internally, our expert in-house trainer and consultant team, some of whom are also external accreditation/ certification assessors, advise the development and project support team of client requests and regulatory needs to ensure any additional features are practical and based on current professional practices. Also we, receive advice from our support/help desk and client management team as well as our sales team, who are our key client liaisons, and who provide critical analysis of client requests.

“These activities are in addition to our annual country’s wide client networking forums, where we ask for further development ideas and system feedback, but also obtain direct feedback from our demonstration of newly developed, ready to release, previously requested features. Our focus is always on practical system use, without compromising professional needs and required quality system and regulatory processes. This balance can be difficult to manage at times, with clients occasionally reminded to ‘watch what you wish for’ as some requests may place onerous burdens on staff and management alike if not carefully considered and designed – hence the application of our ‘practical but quality outcome’ test on all new features. Following our development activities, we utilise key client’s user acceptance testing sites to ensure any ‘patterns of use’ of clients are appropriately considered and optimised for the final release.”

Operating with a long-term aim of becoming a leader in the healthcare industry, the team is looking to make the most of the technological advances within the sector. Leecare’s mission is therefore to be a company which develops and implements the most comprehensive, suitable product relevant to the aged care industry and which supports aged care organisations who provide excellent holistic care for their community, regardless of their size or budget. Caroline elaborates further on what the team at Leecare are looking to achieve, outlining more of the company’s future goals, its vision and what gaps in the market the team has identified which will see it achieve further success.

“Moving forward, Leecare aims to provide excellent service at all times by working closely with clients in assessing their needs and identifying the appropriate course of action within aged care budgetary constraints. We work in a people focused, and quality care intentioned sector, meaning we need to continually listen and encourage clear, respectful, open and honest communications both within our own organisation and with our client base. Also, we practice and provide many staff support initiatives including flexible and family friendly working hours, preferred payroll and superannuation treatments, emergency staff loans and considerations. Additionally, we encourage staff involvement in charitable and volunteer groups and provide targeted sector based, and staff selected charitable donations.

“Keeping an eye on the future, our vision is to remain a company that supports staff and management in their current workflow practices rather than making them change unnecessarily. We want to ensure our product exceeds functionality requirements that support aged care organisations meet their regulatory and professional responsibilities, whilst enhancing their customers experience. This goal is reinforced by robust and innovative technology and corporate roadmaps. Our solutions are underpinned by the nursing process and are clinically robust hence they remain relevant and professional, plus our people are loyal, authentic and have uncompromised integrity, with longevity and visionary leadership since 1992.”

With technology becoming increasingly dominant in the healthcare industry, it is important that the team at Leecare are aware of any developments and advances which may arise within the sector, enabling the team to be one step ahead of its competitors. Caroline discusses the methods of her forwardthinking team’s, as well as noting the importance of staying resilient and turning any challenges it may come across into opportunities.

"Crucial to our success has been our ability to identify possible impacts that potentially threaten our continued relevance as a software company in the aged care sector, our financial viability and our professional standing by keeping pace with information technology changes and advancements. This is why we started as a VB/Access DB system, but redeveloped into a C#.net/SQL DB solution in 2005/06, and then redeveloped again into a Java based/MySQL Db based product in 2010/11 to ensure our system remained affordable for the sector, and could be used on any device and installed on any platform. We deliver a high value, low cost turnkey solution. We have built in business process adaptability through our configuration and schema change tools to ensure every client can adapt the system to the way they need and want to. When Leecare rewrote the entire system into a Java/ MySQL Web Browser solution, it revolutionised the industry to use web technology and smart user interfaces with real time access from any device, anywhere from any platform and any web browser.

“Leecare ensures it remains resilient and can effectively respond to software development requirements and industry needs to ensure an effective response for our customer base by employing experienced IT professionals preferably with relevant health industry experience but if not, we support them to attend training sessions with clients so they can hear the client questions and needs directly from the source. We see attendance by developers at client training sessions a key contributor to developers’ understanding client needs.”

One major factor which differentiates Leecare from its competitors is that founder and CEO Caroline has unrivalled experience within the industry, and is able to utilise her knowledge and skillset to ensure that the company delivers the best solutions and software that it possible can. Holding a wealth of qualifications, the team look up to Caroline, and are motivated to do their best. Furthermore, all members of the dedicated and ambitious team are able to attend conferences, seminars and training courses which sees them kept up to date with any developments in the market.

Due to the fact that Leecare Solutions commenced as an aged care consulting firm in 1992, and worked with homes under sanctions and non-compliances, providing professional education services, setting up systems, policies and procedures for 100 aged care organisations from 1992-2012, the software that was built from this background was both practical and relevant.

Caroline was also an appointed Commonwealth Nurse Advisor during this time, was the President of the Aged Care IT Vendors Association for five years until 2015, the vendor organisation who worked with the Australian government to bring the PCEHR/My Health Record to the sector, and was a member of the Commonwealth NEHTA CCA (Compliance, Conformance and Accreditation) Committee for four years until 2015. During this time, she often attended meetings and met each month with NEHTA / Commonwealth and IT experts to discuss Health IT needs of the country, the health sector and to ensure secure data provision. Hence these experiences and the ability to obtain advice from these bodies ensured the software deployed to clients continued to be professionally based and secure.

Leecare’s Trainer/Consultant Leads, who are involved in the everyday implementation of Clients are Aged Care Assessors with the Quality Agency or Aged Care Managers of a minimum 15 years’ experience at a senior aged care management level. This sets our team apart from many vendors as our team are key sector based professionals wanting to support the sector to grow and achieve quality and technologically advanced status.

Over the past four years, Leecare has been the aged care software product used by many nursing homes in Asia via the largest single aged care clinical and operations’ installation in South East Asia with 8,500 beds. Leecare’s client base in New Zealand since 2002, has also ensured Leecare has continued its expert industry liaison role and gerontological expertise that spans countries not just locally.

Keeping up to date with all developments, Leecare conducts annual and more often client networking forums to gather information regarding client needs and wishes; constant contact with our Agency Assessor staff and industry experts has ensured the products’ relevance over the years.

Still, Leecare issues regular upgrades to clients that include significant additional functionality as requested, and regulatory changes, but because the Platinum5 suite also already supports a resident/client choice and decision-making focus, as well as professional service provision due to the structure used to build the software, it already meets future and increasing client needs and expectations.

In this sense, assessments are key and care plans are a reflection of the assessment content with implementation, review/evaluation processes embedded structurally in Platinum 5 functionality, and with the Leecare P5Mobile App, the company’s provider clients can also ensure residents / clients / families / significant others can login and view details as made available (care plans, relevant forms etc.) and staff can access and enter details at the point of care - ensuring information is always available in real time regardless of data entry point.

Within the aged care sector, Leecare is noticing significant growth most countries of the world, but the ageing population statistics of Singapore and China in the coming 10-20 years shows a significant need for relevant supportive software. Caroline provides us with her thoughts on the industry at present and tells us what developments she foresees which will have an impact on the sector, and what changes she would possibly like to see.

“Funding by governments for the sector is variable across the region with some countries providing no funding whilst others provide support for certain services but not others. This means aged care organisations are necessarily ether selffunded through charities or via residents/clients who must pay for all accommodation and services. Clinical, lifestyle, medication, operations’ and financial management software can sometimes be a last consideration however, its ability to rationalise and condense documentation stressors and requirements cannot be under estimated.

“The purpose of developing a web browser solution was specifically to enable data entry at point of care, to enable staff to access information in an easy to read format and to enable picture upload and document upload at the resident home page level, so that picture care plans and relevant care information could be instantly accessible via mobile devices (tablets, mobile phones, iPads etc.) as well as desktops, supporting a paperless system of work. The Leecare two click ‘navigation to anywhere’ scheme enables users to easily locate and enter resident and organisation information.

“Plus, the product’s Forms Schema Builder capability ensures an organisation can continue to configure, build and develop the system in line with their staff and client needs - this easy to use feature supports the modification and building of not just clinical forms targeted for residents and clients. However, a staff Forms builder enables competencies and other staff forms to be inserted into the program based on organisation needs, and a facility Forms builder that likewise enables the building and insertion of facility targeted/based forms to suit organisation needs. This further supports organisation autonomy in ensuring the system continuously meets the needs of staff on the ground either in the field or working in a residential care environment, without spending excessive amounts on software change requests.

“As such, the factors that impact on the aged care sector are often internal organisation imposed or external funding related. The sector is both poor and rich. It relies on families’ abilities and willingness to support their older family members, whilst supporting young and growing family members.

"The professional needs of the sector remain the same as older people regardless of world location or condition still need social and clinical support of a professional, gerontologically focused type – where respect for a person’s wishes, and the need to address varied clinical presentations is paramount. And quality clinical and management expected practices are well documented, embedded into each countries’ quality standards for aged care frameworks whether they are country based or WHO based. The difference is the focus an organisation or a software system chooses.”

With customers and clients’ expectations rising throughout the sector, people are expecting to live a better quality of life as they grow older, and this is a sign that Leecare is moving the industry forward in the right direction. As such, Caroline described how the company has been able to adapt to previous developments.

“Leecare has always chosen to focus on the resident/client, with an individual client view, and an organisation view from which everything system wide is viewed. This method has kept our focus on the needs of people and the organisation’s we serve.

“Excitingly, Leecare has the capacity to expand its offerings and remain financially viable to ensure relevant funded and non-funded developments for the sector. Our focus on constant technology re-investment and ensuring viability through careful fiscal management, including expense and excess management ensures we can afford to stay ahead of the game.

“Plus, through strategic software partnerships, where other products can be made available to clients via either embedded or interfaced solutions, Leecare can achieve its aim of further providing technology that has the power to connect people, care and business.”

Overall, there is an exciting future ahead for both the aged care sector and Leecare itself, as Caroline predicts in her concluding comments. She talks us through the company’s upcoming plans, and is keen to highlight that the team will continue to be innovative and creative in order to maintain its success.

“Looking ahead, our Technology Roadmap includes continued development of our Apps to The Aged Care Industry’s Leading Web Browser-based EHR Platformg support the advances in device technology and wearables, so that when these devices are more affordable for our often cash strapped organisations, we will be ready and waiting. This will allow Leecare to benefit from the increasingly mobile digital market we are operating in, offering us many exciting opportunities that we look forward to taking advantage of."

Company: Leecare Solutions Pty Ltd & Leecare Health Pte Ltd

Contact: Dr Caroline Lee RN

Telephone: Head office: 61 3 9339 6888

Web Address: www.leecare.com.au; www.leecare.sgwww.leecare.co.nz