Nathan is the Co-founder and Director of Five Good Friends, a self-service platform that aims to revolutionise home care by connecting people with the best care and health solutions in their community. We asked him to share his thoughts on why he began working in the aged care sector, why it is important for aged care providers to adopt new technologies, and how his previous experience and skills have been applied to his current work at Five Good Friends.
Check out the interview below:
1. What made you and your colleagues decide to start Five Good Friends and why did you opt for a change to work in the aged care sector?
Originally, we felt that the trends in consumer health technologies like fit bits and remote monitoring would be the future of ageing in your home and community. We had been exposed to these technologies in our previous business, Everyday Hero, and could see a natural fit for ageing. However, when we first started 7 years ago, it was obvious the role of technology was to simply improve the transparency of the system for families and loved ones. Only now are we seeing the role of remote monitoring etc coming into its own… We may have been a little ambitious in hindsight.
2. How have you used your previous experience in sales, software and marketing and applied it to the aged care sector and your work today?
Great question! We are true believers in partnering and we found that the sector traditionally had not partnered well. We managed to form great, mutually beneficial partnerships with a range of organisations to get our message out. Brands like APIA insurance, Suncorp and many large retirement village operators were great to partner with. We also learned that the primary decision maker, in many cases, was the daughter or son. So we focused a lot of our effort on their needs. Understanding this helped us build a better model to support the whole family.
3. Why do you think it is important for aged care providers to adopt new technology and what advice would you give them to get started?
There are several factors. Firstly, the current wave of consumers have higher expectations for what technology can solve (ease of communication, billing, collaborating etc). Secondly, the sector needs to get operationally efficient, without compromising quality. Technology, like remote monitoring, can help focus your efforts in the right places, earlier. Workforce shortages also mean that you need to have the best tools available to staff. We want all workers in healthcare to contribute to the top of their professional license. Technology helps you ensure the right information is sent to the right skilled person automatically, helping maximise the limited resources available.
In getting started, I have a whole philosophy on this. Put simply, technology should help you become the best service provider you want to be in your chosen space. So slowly using technology to transform those aspects of your organisation will enable that. Have a look here!
4. What attributes of your entrepreneurial mindset do you see as most valuable in this sector?
I have always tried to leverage technology to enable mission or purpose. Once we built the technology for Five Good Friends, we thought we should leverage what we have built and make it cheaply and easily accessible for the whole industry. That is why we developed our Lookout Platform, and are excited to see over 70 providers using it already after just 2 years. We hope we can lift the technological capability of the industry, small and large providers, to the benefit of all consumers.
To hear more from Nathan, listen to Exploring the role of governing bodies and executives in leading digital adoption and innovation here: Webinar (agedcarequality.gov.au)