Taking a step closer to a paperless world

Published on the 01/12/2016 | Written by Anthony Caruana

Paperless office

Since I was a boy, I’ve been hearing about the paperless office…

And the only sci-fi movie I can recall where paper was part of the future was Planet of the Apes – and that was about a dystopian time.

Today’s reality is that paper is still clung to by organisations as a kind of safety net. But every time a piece of paper is used as a critical part of some business process it’s a point of risk. It can be lost, damaged, filled in incorrectly or out of date by the time it reaches the intended user.

CareMonkey’s Troy Westley saw this problem first hand. About three years ago, as he was looking at papers in a filing cabinet, he noticed an asthma action plan for one of his children. He was horrified that a critical piece of information, designed by his doctor about his child’s well-being, was sitting in a filing cabinet outside the hands of the people caring for his son.

“There was a problem to solve – that’s where the idea came. How easy it is to share photos on Facebook but there was no social care network where you could store and manage and share very sensitive information with people you trust.”

CareMonkey started as an online service for parents to enter, store and maintain crucial data about their children. This included allergies, health conditions, medication requirements, emergency contact details and other important information.

Although many student records systems used by schools can do this, teachers have had to print the data out to take it with them on camps. There’s also a need for schools to regularly remind parents to provide new information each year. This is often done with paper forms that are then keyed into the school’s systems by administrative staff.

But the broader application is putting parents in control of their child’s data for all sorts of environments, and not just school.

“Parents cannot stand how many times they need to enter the same information over and over again, at enrolment, for every excursion, at the start of every year,” he said.

One of the surprises for Westley was that schools embraced CareMonkey as a productivity system. Although accessing student health information was important from a duty of care perspective, it was the ability to collect and maintain the data more easily that was a major selling point.

“Parents own and manage the data and they share it,” said Westley. “Once they have a profile for a child they never need to create another one.” Profile, that is, not child.

Westley said sporting clubs, scout groups, youth groups and other organisations are using CareMonkey. Once a parent creates a record for their child, they can grant access to any other organisation or person that uses CareMonkey. That means parents can share information with other carers such as babysitters and relatives.

When the child’s data is updated, everyone the child is associated with gets up to date information that syncs to a mobile device.

This synchronisation is a critical point of difference from traditional student management systems. Access to children’s information can be handled offline when there is no internet access. Given most responsible adults are carrying either a smartphone or tablet, they can carry the children’s information with them without lugging kilograms of bulky paper. That paper also represented a security and privacy risk if lost.

Although CareMonkey started as a tool for schools, and then grew to other child-centric services and organisations, Westley said the application is far broader and the company has seen the service adopted by other sectors.

“In Canberra, there’s a plumbing business with 60 employees working on industrial sites. They use the system, not just for emergency contacts and medical information, but our system collects any details. It collects on boarding information such as bank account details and tax file numbers, certifications and qualifications.”

Many of the use-cases that CareMonkey has been applied to were outside Westley’s expectation but the platform is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate these evolving needs. Even the NRL is using CareMonkey for injury reporting.

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