Life Without Barriers is leading a focus on innovation for NDIA users

3 August 2021

"We invest in technology that is person-focused, through consultation and giving feedback.”

Image: Two people standing against a blue sky. The older is wearing a brown top and scarf. The younger is wearing a pink beanie and red jacket.

Life Without Barriers, along with other disability service providers, have actively embraced the Federal Government’s open-source approach to innovation.

Early last year, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) unveiled its Digital Partnership Program: an API-led initiative enabling registered providers of disability services to tap into the NDIA’s vast data assets and systems.

By granting access to this data, NDIA authorities hoped to draw in industry partners to develop unique consumer products and services for participants – services that would serve to augment, rather than replace, the functions offered through the NDIS’s current interaction portal, myplace.

These NDIA-developed Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow disability service providers like Life Without Barriers to connect our ICT system directly with the NDIA’s, simplifying app development, saving time and money.

The APIs help automate NDIS operations processes, making it easier for disability industry participants to interact with providers and for providers to leverage NDIA data to better support their participants.

Jason Collins, Executive Director of Technology at Life Without Barriers, shares that Life Without Barriers was quick to take advantage of the national disability insurer’s API mix.

“Being in the pilot program, we had a good commercial exposure to the APIs, so we were able to get value out of it straight away.”

“We have a few invocations in train now that are person-focused, such as for accessing service booking information in participants’ plans,” he said.

Life Without Barriers has also done 'exploratory work' with an assortment of other APIs and maintain an agile approach in the use of these connective technologies.

“APIs support the process to give insights into up-to-date information about an NDIS participant’s service booking. They need to be flexible based on the participant’s needs, and so we have to adapt too.”

Life Without Barriers has a focus on innovation and our technology team is now the largest department outside of client services. However, it is still early days in our app development journey.

“We’re still in the discovery phase, and we will be led by people we support as to what they want from those apps."

“Our focus is working in partnership with our operational teams to make sure we have access to this data and rosters so work on the client-facing app can start soon.”

Life Without Barriers' approach has gained positive feedback from professional consultancy firm Deloitte, with praise for the way it has handled data, analytics, impact measurement, and its ability 'to break down client's thinking.'

“We’ve been impressed how quickly the agency has turned things around and really taken our feedback seriously,” said Jason.

The NDIS has, clearly demonstrated it can be a catalyst for change, embracing a tech-friendly approach that can truly transform the disability services sector.

Read the original article and more on the topic here.