The chief executive of Care England has warned that the care sector must continue to accelerate the “technology revolution” seen over the last year in order to meet rising demand in the future.
Speaking at The Access Group’s Care Redefined webinar, Professor Martin Green reiterated the role of digital transformation as one of Care England’s key strategic priorities, suggesting it could transform services in the 21st century.
He said: “If we look into the future there is going to be a significant increase in the number of people needing care and if we look at the workforce we will not be able to continue to do things in the same way. The need for care is going to increase significantly and we have to use technology as a way to respond to that requirement.
“The current labour intensive and bureaucratic way of doing things takes invaluable time away from carers’ most important role of providing care and it is not only unfit for purpose but it is also clearly not sustainable.
“As a sector, we have to give care staff the gift of time and technology is the cornerstone to providing this greater freedom.”
Reflecting on the changes that the sector has seen over recent years, Professor Green added: “Care England members that are embracing technology are seeing tangible benefits, as are the people using their services and their families. The organisations that had already embraced care planning systems, for example, were the most robust during the crisis.
“We have to see the technological revolution, which has been advanced significantly by Covid-19, continue. As we come out of the pandemic, we have to keep our foot on the accelerator because there are huge benefits to using technology.
“As a sector, we have not been good at embracing the productivity challenge. If we are to get it right in the future, we have to use technology because we don’t have the financial or human resources to continue in the same way that we did.”
A recent global survey found that an uptick in the use of technology in health and social care during the pandemic has improved both the quality and delivery of care.
Around two-thirds of respondents (65%) said that tech solutions have led to better outcomes for citizens and 60% reported improved quality and access to care. A similar number of people said that adoption of technology has led to increased staff productivity (63%) and more than half said it enabled better collaboration across organisations (56%).
Steve Sawyer, managing director of The Access Group’s health and social care division, commented: “Digital transformation is about re-envisioning and driving change in how we operate and deliver services. That’s a management and people challenge, not just a technology challenge. This is something that is happening now, many care providers we work with have seen an exponential leap in both technology strategy and adoption.
“In the last twelve months, we have seen a 24% increase in the number of businesses newly investing in technology with The Access Group. When things have been tough, leaders have turned to a digital strategy to answer those challenges.
“It’s not just organisations deciding to move away from paper-based systems for the first time, but also existing customers who are also investing and extending their digital solutions. Even those that were digital at the start of the pandemic have sought new opportunities to expand their capabilities to deliver a better, more efficient service and improved workforce experience.”