Cloud empowers small aged care providers

The cloud has been essential to Mirus Australia providing enterprise-grade revenue management services to small aged care providers with limited IT budgets, according to the company's director Nick Gage.

Mirus, founded in 2010, helps aged care providers assess their funding requirements and manage revenue using cloud-based visual tools designed to simplify financial data.

Cloud “brings enterprise-grade software to people that wouldn’t otherwise consider it let alone have the budget to invest in it,” Gage told Computerworld Australia.

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The Australian aged care industry has about 1200 providers, serving about 185,000 beds, but about 200 of the providers represent about 50 per cent of the beds, he said. While those large providers tend to have good IT, the remaining 1000 providers run about three facilities at most and tend to have limited internal IT capabilities, said Gage.

Mirus decided it could best serve these smaller providers by investing in its own technology and sharing the wealth through the cloud, he said.

“We recognised that cloud was essential for us… If we went down the route of actually trying to locally deploy a solution, we’re going to limit ourselves to probably those 200 providers that may or may not have a capability to manage that in house.”

In addition, the cloud has allowed Mirus to respond quickly to any changes the government makes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), which is the tool used to assess the funding needs of aged care providers.

About 70 per cent of funding for aged care providers comes from the government, “so managing it obviously becomes important,” said Gage. “Facilities that are on top of managing that revenue ... will typically find there’s a lot less pressure on the bottom line.”

If changes are made to the ACFI, the cloud provides Mirus the flexibility to update its service almost immediately and for all its customers at one time, said Gage.

When the government made changes to how the ACFI was calculated in July 2012, Mirus was able to deploy the change the same week, he said. Other organisations that did not have the same capability struggled to adapt to the change, he added.

Mirus chose CloudCentral as its cloud vendor in part because the company was based in Australia and had previously received approval from the Australian government, having been added to the Australian Government Information Management Office's Data Center as a Service Multi Use List in November 2012, said Gage.

“We wanted to maintain our data locally,” given the sensitivity of the data and the perception that the data would not be as secure if it was stored abroad, he said.

Mirus considered two other domestic cloud providers and compared all three to Amazon Web Services “as a sort of yard stick,” Gage said. Ultimately, the decision to choose CloudCentral came down to price, its range of features and the intuitiveness of the interface, he said.

CloudCentral has recently added analytics from MicroStrategy to its cloud service, but Mirus already had a licence with MicroStrategy prior to the partnership, said Gage. CloudCentral consulted with Gage about the analytics service before announcing the service, he said.

The MicroStrategy service has allowed Mirus provide its revenue management tools mobile devices including the Apple iPad, he said.

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