You are currently viewing Technology in care – key questions
Technology in Care

Technology in care – key questions

New technology is changing at such a fast pace it is hard to keep up. Additionally, business owners are often confused as to which technology to implement and how technology can help their business. This is a reality for most of the care businesses I speak with. This is why understanding what value technology can provide to your business is so important. It is a BIG decision which, if you get it wrong, it can cause major issues. If you want to make the right decision for your business then I’ve provided some advice below that will enable you to do that.

Key questions to ask:

  1. How will this technology benefit my business? e.g. ROI
  2. How will this technology benefit my clients/residents/individuals? e.g. enhance their lives
  3. How will this technology benefit my employees? e.g. enhance employee experience
  4. Is this technology digitally enabled?
  5. How easy is it to leave this technology provider both in terms of data extraction and contract?
  6. Can it/will it talk/communicate with other technology providers?

Think strategically about your business and what you want to achieve in the future. In terms of business benefit what tasks are you doing now that technology could do for you? e.g. payroll, invoicing, scheduling, data collection, data sharing.

For client/resident/individual benefits how would technology help them to achieve their goals? e.g. enabling participation in activities, health and wellbeing goals, increased safety.

I honestly don’t think the regulators as yet have an in depth understanding of technology and the role it can play in enhancing the support it can provide to individuals. This is making it even more difficult for care businesses to make those key decisions. Businesses therefore need a framework they can use that helps them make the right decisions. I would recommend putting Maslow at the heart of any digital strategy to ensure you can evidence the benefits and make the right decisions for your business.

So what is out there and what do they do?

A few are outlined below.

1. Care Management Software

This is the basic standard of offering technology services to home care clients. The technology should be digitally enabled and intuitive to use. It should also have a client and care professional portal to provide communication online and in real time. Being able to see the story that sits behind the person to reflect their individual needs that is both engaging and unique to them rather than task based tick boxes.

2. Application tracking system

There are systems out there that can automate the recruitment process. This can really help care business if used correctly. However, these systems still need someone within the care business to be accountable for the process. There is no point in investing a lot of money if the results do not provide what you need them to. My advice is to set out clear SMART goals at the start of the process as to what you want to achieve and set KPI’s to track them.

3. Assistive Technology & 24 hour first response

There are a range of technology providers out there who can offer assistive technology services that can massively benefit care businesses, clients, employees and families. Technology in care homes such as acoustic monitoring has shown to have significant benefits to residents and employees. In home care many companies are looking at assistive technology to provide that reassurance for individuals and their families. The company I use is Astraline. They offer a 24-hour first response line which is essential for the clients I work with. They also allow my clients to rent out a range of sensors for a monthly fee, rather than having to pay upfront for equipment for each client. A fall sensor, care call alarm, movement, hydration and door sensors are included. You can use this for clients who live alone and it provides peace of mind to them and their families. If you are currently struggling to implement care packages this is a great service that can be started more or less straight away. This means the client has some form of service from you, which is the start of the client relationship.

4. GPS Tracking devices

There are a number of options on these devices now. There are many designed specifically for people with Dementia. As an example you can buy watches that people can’t take off easily, or you can buy insoles that you can put in a person’s shoes. This type of technology makes a big difference to the families of those who are concerned for their loved ones.

5. Telehealth

Telehealth in care is relatively new. It has the capacity to log health data for clients e.g. vital signs such as blood pressure, oxygen and glucose levels on a platform which can be viewed and monitored. My view is, if people can be monitored either in a care home or at home, then it significantly reduces the chance of hospital admission. This has to be a good outcome for all.

6. Apps & Gadgets

There are so many apps and gadgets out there now. These can include memory games to improve brain function and wellbeing apps that make it easier for people to communicate online. If you have a strategy to support people to live well at home then these apps can add real value. The aim for you as a home care provider is to offer a service that includes researched apps that you are confident to use. I would recommend any home care company look at Orcha. It is very reasonably priced and the apps are rated independently. There are many apps on there that are free to use such as Foundations; Wellbeing and Sleep, Moves4Me and CogniFit. Mirthy offers social interaction through their classes and online talks, they also have some useful information for older people.

In addition to the above there are great tablets on the market that are designed specifically for the older person. Grandpad is rated the best in a number of reviews. Although this is currently expensive option, I am certain there will be more competition in this space soon.

If you are looking at other gadgets specifically designed for the elderly, then I would take a look at Bridgit. They are a great resource for unpaid carers which home care businesses will be in contact with.

5. Pet robots (and more!)

Pet robots have been around for a little while now and they are proven to help reduce the feelings of social isolation and anxiety. As a home care business you have to embrace this new world, even though it can feel a little bit overwhelming. Alexa have just introduced their first home robot Astro. If you’ve seen Humans TV series you will be thinking “Oh my, this is really happening”. It feels a bit weird and there are a lot of data questions that I would need to have answered before installing this within a home care setting. However, it is here and it is here to stay.

To summarise

All care businesses should have a technology strategy that will take their business through to the next 5 to 10 years. If you would like to know the types of questions you should be asking we provide benchmark assessments. Call us on 01492 550401 to find out more. A digital strategy means you have to be prepared to adapt and embrace change. As a forward thinking care consultancy we are working with the innovators and early adopters putting new technology into practice. This is included as part of their client services and is working well. If you would like a 30 minute consultation at no cost to you, book in a call here.