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New thinking required for national disability technology

Byron Connolly | June 25, 2015
New thinking required for national disability technology "The disability world is deep and diverse. I’m not your average disabled computer user by any stretch of the imagination." - Sean Fitzgerald

"These types of reforms are once in a generation," she said.

The government allocated $143 million in its May budget to create and rollout technology that will replace an interim pilot system currently managed by the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Technology used during the pilot rollout has recently come under scrutiny as not being fit for purpose.

The new system will be rolled out over the next two years -- starting with the transfer of core capabilities and actuarial data from the DSS to the Department of Human Services (DHS).

This will be followed by a phase to transform business processes using automation; and a final 'transcend' phase to further extend the operating model, Johnson told CIO.

Read more:Digital brokers could fix poor government service delivery

"The DHS is doing the technology work -- our role is in the architecture, the assurance and the strategy," Johnson said.

Breakthrough thinking is needed to deploy a 'fit for purpose' technology architecture that will eventually touch over 2 million citizens through various community support services when full coverage is achieved in 2019-20.

"This is not something that we have neatly thought out ahead of time," said Johnson. "We believe this system will help drive innovation right through this ecosystem of service providers."

The NDIS' insurance-based model is about providing people with disabilities with choice around the services they will require throughout their lifetimes and the use of technology and data will be highly significant, said Johnson.

"We will use an actuarial-based model where there is a very significant focus on longitudinal data and analytics. We have a chief actuary and there's a focus on analytics to understand lifetime costs and benefits and so forth. So it's a data-driven model that helps inform policy decisions as well as decisions made by participants," said Johnson.

Providing a positive 'participant experience' will be vital. Johnson said there is large percentage of NDIS participants who have some form of intellectual disability and the agency and IT providers need to think about how to best provide services for this group.

"Participants will need to be part of and involved in the design of those services. The way they engage with content is far different to what you and I and anybody else would usually expect. And so when we talk about accessibility, this takes what that means to a different level."

Although the agency will be utilising existing DHS capabilities, new technologies will need to be explored in areas such as user experience, said Johnson.

"In some areas, we know the capabilities of the core platform in terms of our case management, our ERP, the actuarial platform and analytics. Where it does start to take on a very exciting level of innovation is in the whole digital and user experience domain.

 

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