Transforming the social care ecosystem with innovative technology
The challenge associated with supporting and funding the care for an ageing population continues to escalate. And while rapid developments in technology are opening up new ways to effectively and efficiently improve the quality of care, and maximise the value of the NHS and the social care budget, it is essential to question how these digital solutions can be utilised to make a real difference to the care industry.
From apps that minimise the admin overload for carers to the role of the Internet of Things (IoT) in monitoring individuals and predicting the need for early intervention, we are now at the point where technology truly offers the chance to transform the way in which care is delivered. And it is the intelligent use of this technology across the entire social care ecosystem that will be key to enabling more people to stay in their homes for longer with a better quality of care.
One of the most fundamental roles that technology must play in the future is to enable carers to undertake their primary function: care. This means reducing the admin burden and releasing carers to spend more time with patients. The adoption of easy-to-use apps will not only reduce administrative time by up to 75% but will also make it easier for carers to record more personal patient information – such as patient mood and important dates – which can then support a far more personal care experience.
Additionally, combining a simple user interface with voice recognition, such as an app will ensure the carer’s report is automatically shared with the local authorities and/or care agency, as well as the individual’s family members. This will address one of the huge causes of stress for those tasked with overseeing the care of a loved one, stress that often leads to time off work or ill health.
Use these systems in tandem with innovative solutions such as IoT based sensors, and the delivery of care can be extended to 24×7. AI-based tools can track habitual behaviour and spot changes in real time to allow for intervention when it is most needed – further alleviating the pressure on carers and families alike.
This live feed of information provides a perfect platform for the end to end digitisation of healthcare, co-ordinating the ecosystem of local authorities, healthcare providers, NHS Trusts and care homes. With a 24×7 system that monitors abnormal behaviour, organisations will have the chance to rethink the way care is delivered and operate in a very different, proactive and personal manner.
It’s time to act now
From bed blocking to the pressure on carers and the extended family, it’s time to tackle the social care ecosystem in its entirety. People want to stay in their own home and it is widely believed they are healthier and happier in that familiar environment. With technology carers have the information to support this type of care – creating a more visible care experience for both their client and the individual’s family members.
This technology also makes financial sense: for local authorities, enabling just a handful of individuals to remain safely at home, rather than in a care facility, justifies the investment in new technology. And what is exciting is that this is just the start; we now have the chance to better understand patient activity, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and allow more patients to stay safely at home for longer.