Name: Suzanne HallTitle: Head of ITCompany: Jewish Care VictoriaCommenced role: January 2021Reporting line: CFOMember of the executive team: YesTechnology Function: 9 staff, 8 direct reports
With digital literacy low across the aged care sector, boosting these skills internally was a major focus for Jewish Care Victoria head of IT, Suzanne Hall.
“The Australian government’s final report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recognised the aged care sector is well behind other sectors in the use of the technology and as a sector, staff have low digital literacy skills,” Hall tells CIO Australia.
To address this issue at Jewish Care Victoria, Hall implemented an organisation-wide digital literacy and cybersecurity staff training strategy in 2022.
Culture of cybersecurity awareness
The training program was essential to build a culture of cybersecurity awareness in the organisation and to protect its data as staff are the last line of defence against cyber-attacks.
The program includes intuitive, easy to use training modules delivered through desktop and mobile apps for increased accessibility, especially for frontline staff.
The training modules are delivered in a choice of multiple different languages to improve understanding for the organisation’s culturally diverse workforce, while frontline staff given additional paid time to complete the training.
The program includes six foundation modules, and ongoing monthly bite-sized sessions, of under five minutes in length, aim to enhance and maintain knowledge, with additional role-specific training delivered to some teams based on their risk profile.
Regular communications to staff meanwhile promote strong cyber practices including weekly ‘Scam of the Week’ emails, physical signage in staff kitchens, presentations across various forums and computer screensavers. Phishing simulation emails are also sent each month to help staff practice their training.
The program is a key component in Jewish Care Victoria’s overall cybersecurity strategy, which is a priority area for its board, says Hall, so key performance indicators are reported to the board each month.
Bringing cybersecurity front of mind
“The digital literacy and cybersecurity awareness program delivered real value to our staff and the way Jewish Care operates to bring cybersecurity front of mind in day-to-day activities,” says Hall.
The benefits have been numerous and has increased digital literacy and improved knowledge of cybersecurity, which staff can apply to both their work and personal lives.
Feedback from staff has been positive with some becoming leaders in technology literacy by upskilling clients, family and friends in cybersecurity awareness.
The improvement in staff cybersecurity awareness is measured through training effectiveness such as completion rates, phishing email click rates and phishing email reporting rates.
This has resulted in a reduction in monthly phishing email click rates from the 45% baseline taken before the start the of program to below 5%.
Staff are also more confident in being able to recognise and report cybersecurity risks, reducing the risk of human error leading to breaches.
As technology plays an increasingly important role in aged care and the level of malicious cybersecurity activity continues to increase, ongoing training and development for staff is essential, says Hall.
“This is so they are able to keep pace with the latest developments and provide the best possible care to our clients.
Digital onboarding & automated workflow
Other recent innovations led by Hall and team include the implementation of digital onboarding and automated workflow processes, and the implementation of an intranet and document management system, dubbed Joogle.
The digital onboarding and automated workflow processes have reduced average staff onboarding time from six weeks to three days, says Hall, and has increased staff retention during the onboarding phase.
It has also reduced operational costs, including a reduction in agency staff cost, as new staff are able to start working faster, while improving the experience for new staff coming into the organisation. Plus, it has enhanced secure storage of sensitive data.
Meanwhile, Joogle has improved information sharing across the organisation giving access to the most up-to-date information, while empowered and upskilling people to maintain their own content. The system provides effective content management and automated workflows, and has increased business intelligence and reporting to help the organisation gain insights and make informed decisions.
Multi-year digital strategy
Strong influencing skills and a collaborative approach have been critical for Hall to gain buy in and support from stakeholders for technology initiatives and to become a trusted advisor.
This has enabled her to ensure technology is always a consideration to meet organisation objectives.
During her time as head of IT at Jewish Care Victoria, Hall has developed a multi-year digital strategy through collaboration across the organisation and obtained board approval and funding for the strategy as one of three key investment priorities in the FY22-23 budget.
“The digital strategy is a flexible multi-year program underpinned by 38 key initiatives to alleviate pain points, achieve much-needed back-of-house operational efficiency, and provide IT alignment to organisation strategy. The strategy represents a significant investment in time, resources and technology.”
Hall has also established a cyber security strategy through collaboration with executives, CEO and board.
Louis van Wyk