By David Lynes, CEO & Founder of Unique IQ
It has been well-documented that the ongoing pandemic has resulted in a major societal shift in how technology is used, with the care sector no exception. Care leaders agree that if there could be some good to come from the pandemic, it is the change brought about by greater use of technology within the sector. So what might that home care technology look like?
A world of data
There is a strong push for a nationalised data set that provides a complete picture of UK home care. As a sector, home care suffers from a lack of evidence base, resulting in under-investment and under-representation in wider health and social care discussions. And yet software providers are uniquely placed to offer data, including real-time data, that can drive decision-making and even system-wide change.
The big picture is yet to be realised, but care businesses are beginning to take advantage of the vast riches of data they hold. Data-rich dashboards that are becoming the norm within software platforms are demystifying data – putting knowledge and power into the hands of care managers and leaders by showcasing important metrics that can drive efficiencies, uncover risks and illuminate trends.
With this kind of data at their fingertips, care managers are empowered to elevate the care they deliver and make better informed decisions about what their businesses do next.
Connected and collaborative
Taking this further, our vision is for a world where care data is joined-up, with software providers working in collaboration, not confrontation, aligning systems with the shared purpose of enabling outstanding home care.
Modern, open API approaches allow data to flow freely between systems, within and between organisations. For example, a carers’ staff record can flag when an essential qualification is due to expire and trigger an enrolment in an e-learning system.
This level of connectivity generates huge efficiencies for care organisations, freeing them up to focus on the most important thing – care. It also gives providers a bigger picture of an individual’s care, helping them be more responsive and truly person-centred.
As care organisations rely increasingly on software for day-to-day operations, it’s crucial that technology has the user’s best interests at heart. Having access to bottomless reserves of data offers enormous potential, but can quickly become overwhelming. So software personalisation is an important emerging trend.
Different roles within care organisations all put varying demands on software – whether that’s finance, supervisors or the Registered Manager. As a result, personalised software, with role-specific dashboards are becoming an increasingly common feature. Technology must enable and support staff, not detract from the job in hand.
For me, AI is the next logical step for home care software. Let’s make all that data work for us and help us provide even better standards of personalised care. Some of the ways we can see AI fitting into home care software include:
Data discovery – using AI to surface important information and life-saving insights that we might otherwise never have known.
Sentiment analysis– AI can indicate whether a client is moving towards a more positive or negative state of mind through analysing records and assigning sentiment to particular words or phrases. This kind of technology also has an application for the workforce too, to help improve retention rates, which is a huge challenge for the care sector.
Decision-making – rostering is a complex process where AI could be hugely beneficial. A care manager has numerous factors to consider when scheduling visits, from travel time, to experience, to a client’s preferences. AI can weigh-up many more factors, to make the best decision with the resources available.
Care is going through a huge period of change, with technology at the forefront in remodelling how care is delivered. Through having access to technology that is fast, portable, intuitive, connected and data-rich, care staff are free to devote their energy to the task at hand – providing outstanding care. And with our new flagship care management software IQ:caremanager, that intention is becoming a reality.