by Byron Connolly

IT in disability sector not up to scratch

Feb 07, 2018
GovernmentHealthcare Industry

Disability service providers and other not-for-profit organisations are under-investing in IT with many using systems that aren’t working well enough to provide efficient services, according to new research.

Not-for-profits are struggling to maintain their overall productivity and provide holistic services depended on by millions, said Infoxchange, Connecting Up and TechSoup NZ. The companies spoke to 385 organisations for their ‘IT in thenot-for-profit sector’ report.

Disability service providers said they were unhappy with their information systems with only 46 per cent reporting that their systems worked well.

These organisations are also spending, on average, 36 per cent less per full time employee on digital technology than other not-for-profits. The biggest challenges facing not-for-profits in this area include lower IT budgets, and lack of technical resources and internal IT capacity.

Their key priorities included improvements to websites, client/member information management systems and better use of social media, the report said. Organisations without sufficient IT plans were also four times more likely to report that their systems are incapable of capturing client information.

Connecting Up chief executive Anne Gawen, said the report revealed worrying trends that this sector should move to address immediately.

“Connecting Up is concerned for those hundreds of organisations who are today revealed as struggling with technology. That struggle appears to be compounded by a comparatively low investment in their IT as an issue that must be addressed urgently, especially for those organisations working with the NDIS who need good technology more than ever,” said Gawen.

Infoxchange chief executive, David Spriggs, said NFPs are increasingly having to invest in technology for staff to efficiently deliver services.

“Having good information systems to enable service delivery and outcome measurement is still a challenge for many,” he said.

“This year’s survey shows that having an IT plan for the future is the first step in making sustained improvements. This aligns with our work in the disability sector where the demand to update information systems is high. Survey results show that most disability service providers have not yet made this transition, and are therefore under stress,” Spriggs said.

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