The hidden risks of using spreadsheets for AN-ACC management

August 15, 2023 | AN-ACC

8 Reasons Why Spreadsheets and AN-ACC Don’t Work

By Shannon Sanderson, Head of Sales

In an increasingly complex world, spreadsheets provide a low cost, easily accessible way for teams to collaborate and analyse data. But is it actually the best and safest tool for storing, managing, and visualising sensitive clinical data?

Around 70% of an aged care provider’s revenue comes from AN-ACC funding. That’s a lot of money to be managed on a spreadsheet.  

From data entry to collating and identifying trends in large datasets, a spreadsheet can be a useful tool. But managing workflows? What happens if the underlying data is dynamic, requiring multiple daily data updates? More importantly, how secure are they?

Scratch the surface and they quickly unravel as the best option for effectively and proactively managing millions of dollars in AN-ACC funding and sensitive clinical data. 

We’ve explored in more detail why spreadsheets aren’t working for you and how Mirus Metrics is a better solution to help you do these jobs more efficiently, safely, and with greater compliance.



It sounds obvious but spreadsheets don’t update themselves. It requires a human to look at the source of truth (PRODA) and then manually transcribe the data into your spreadsheet. This requires time and resources that many aged care providers simply don’t have. Also introduced is the risk of human error and data being transcribed incorrectly. 

Mirus Metrics  

Mirus Metrics updates Medicare data automatically, on a daily basis, direct from PRODA. This means when a resident’s AN-ACC classification changes in PRODA, Metrics will also be updated. Without your team having to do a thing.  



Spreadsheets can report on what has happened and give a rear view of your funding outcomes. They are not easily designed to have advanced workflows or handle large amounts of data.    

Mirus Metrics  

Mirus Metrics contains a forward thinking view of your AN-ACC funding allowing you to proactively manage your resident classification workflows and the impact of resident admissions and re-classifications on care minute compliance and future care minute targets.  



Anyone can get up and running with a spreadsheet quickly – indeed, this is one of the reasons it’s such a powerful tool. However, the spreadsheet’s biggest advantage can quickly become detrimental to data security: more people using and sharing them means an increased risk of a data breach.

Security is difficult to enforce in Excel. Spreadsheets can easily get shared, copied, and distributed. Excel also lacks encryption features for safeguarding sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII). Even if you add password-protection to your spreadsheets, a quick bit of VBA code and hackers easily gain access to your files.

Secure your aged care funding data with Mirus Metrics. Protect sensitive data, improve operational efficiency, and gain confidence in your data management.

More concerningly, according to a study by Cisco 38% of common malware file extensions communicated via email are Microsoft Office formats, including Excel. 

In addition to malware, many companies may have no way of knowing if their files are being stored or duplicated by unauthorised users because they cannot review who has seen or accessed the data. If managers cannot determine or track who has the password to the spreadsheet or if it has been shared, this security breach may become more significant. 

Mirus Metrics  

Our software solutions have been designed from the ground up with security in mind. They offer robust capabilities to keep your data safe and accurate. Mirus is proudly certified to have an Information Security Management System compliant with the requirements of ISO/IEC 27001. This gives our clients confidence we take management sensitive resident data seriously.  



Spreadsheets are commonly designed by someone with advanced analytical and Excel skills. When this person leaves the organisation or takes leave unexpectedly, it can highlight key person risk. Multiple clients have contacted us after the person who built their spreadsheet left the organisation leaving no one who understand how to use spreadsheet and in a few cases without the password.

Modelling complex relationships between data elements is not easy to achieve in spreadsheets – trust us, we’ve tried!

Spreadsheets, like anything that relies on human effort, are prone to errors.  A university study by Dr Raymond Panko “…found errors in at least 86% of the spreadsheets audited”, so spreadsheets with multiple dependencies that need to be manually maintained becomes an administrative headache.  

Spreadsheets also have poor disaster recovery options which creates the risk of losing data completely if the spreadsheet gets corrupted or deleted, either accidentally or intentionally.  

Compounding this is a significant amount of already busy and stressed clinical staff having to update and maintain a complex spreadsheet. Productivity loss whilst staff that are normally care focussed try to manage and navigate spreadsheet errors is a real concern for aged care providers.  

Mirus Metrics  

Mirus Metrics is a cloud-based platform with a database and all application communications encrypted, the encrypted backups are created regularly and maintained. Inbuilt data analytics and workflows are designed to make management of AN-ACC classifications simple and easy to digest.  



While spreadsheets can be a collaborative tool there is inherent risk in allowing anyone in your team to add information. If there is a problem with the spreadsheet it’s hard to tell who edited a cell and can make it difficult to pinpoint where an error occurred.  

Version control becomes increasingly challenging. As soon as someone updates their version of the spreadsheet without syncing to the master, a data conflict has been introduced – how do you know which version is the truth?

It was the merging of data from multiple sources that saw nearly 16,000 coronavirus cases go unreported in England in 2020.  

Explaining the principles of data protection to non-privacy staff is difficult. It’s even more difficult to collect, present and show information in modelled spreadsheets to colleagues. You will need to email or call colleagues for input, while managing the continuous updating of processing records. This situation makes privacy a headache for everyone involved. 

Data management via spreadsheet makes it increasingly difficult to keep the data secure or to analyse it and gain meaningful insights for your business. And over time, it continues to get harder as spreadsheet versions proliferate and changes get out of sync. Time is wasted trying to corral data back into one spreadsheet and performance is bogged down as data expands. 

Mirus Metrics  

Mirus Metrics, as cloud-based software, provides real time collaboration with your team including auditing capability. This means the whole organisation (funding, clinical, operations and finance) can use Metrics as the source of truth.  



There is increased difficulty in managing spreadsheets across multiple locations and are exponentially more unwieldy for users and administrators alike. The further we venture into the AN-ACC world the more difficult storing historical resident classification data on a spreadsheet will become.  This includes resident admissions and departures, reclassifications and AMO assessments.  

Mirus Metrics  

Metrics has been designed to manage everything from a single to unlimited facilities. With thousands of resident classifications being tracked every month, Metrics is a robust platform that contains 90,000 beds of benchmarked data. Thus providing your organisation with a picture of your performance and compared to industry.  



Spreadsheets are not user-friendly and it is difficult to make them easy to read. They’re customisable and familiar, but when you need to handle a lot of data, you’ll find yourself scrolling through hundreds of rows and columns across multiple sheets for different facilities. 

Mirus Metrics 

Like all Mirus software Mirus Metrics incorporates user centred design principles with a focus on making data easy to consume and providing actionable insights.  

Whilst spreadsheets provide some advantages, the limitations in managing sensitive clinical data for Aged Care providers is evident. Mirus Metrics, however, is a solution that offers automatic updates, proactive management, robust security, and user-friendly features. With real-time collaboration and scalability, it ensures accurate, efficient, and compliant management of AN-ACC revenue.

It’s a modest investment for a transformational leap in data management.

For around 0.1% of your AN-ACC funding, Mirus Metrics can provide you with a secure, proactive approach to managing AN-ACC revenue.