A new report has revealed that 89% of home care providers in the UK are using technology to improve their businesses.
The State of Tech in Care report, conducted by home care software provider Birdie, found that of these businesses, 20% implemented new technology in the last year, indicating that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of digital solutions.
Max Parmentier, CEO of Birdie, said: “Our survey results indicate a great success of the care industry. With almost 90% of our survey respondents using some form of technology, we’re building the foundations for a truly connected, data-driven industry that has the potential to make better decisions and drive better results when it comes to the wellbeing of the people we care for.”
Birdie conducted the survey in January, with the aim of understanding the main benefits of using technology to support home care provision, as well as the barriers to adoption.
It found that of those respondents who use technology, such as rostering, care management and eMAR software, 60% said it saves them time – over 30 hours a month on average.
Almost two thirds (65%) of home care agencies said technology has led to better outcomes for citizens, while 59% said they have saved around £500 per month since switching from paper to digital.
But there is more work to be done, according to Birdie. Of the 11% of respondents who haven’t implemented technology, 33% believe it is too expensive, 33% said they don’t have time to set it up, 22% prefer to use their own systems, 11% believe it’s not required and 11% worry about training their staff to use new systems.
Rostering systems topped the poll as the most widely used software in care businesses, with over 64% indicating they used one.
Care management software was a close second, with 60% stating they use a dedicated system, and 53% used a carer delivery system like an app or tablet.
Only 47% indicated they use eMAR in their business currently, and that’s where Birdie believes the most significant improvements can be made.
According to a recent report from the British Medical Journal (BMJ), more than 237 million medication errors are made every year in England, with over half being made at the point of administration.
BMJ calculated that “definitely avoidable” medication errors cost the NHS nearly £98.5 million every year and 1,708 lives.
Birdie said technology can, and will, help mitigate these risks.
Max Parmentier added: “Through technology, the benefits are two-fold. We can give home care providers the tools they need to improve on a day-to-day level and we can begin to achieve greater insight, allowing councils to allocate resources more efficiently, giving care workers more time to spend with older adults, and help clinicians spot early symptoms of disease.
“We can also allow preventative care to be carried out in the home, and away from hospitals, ensuring no one falls through the cracks of the system, keeping older people independent for longer.”
To create the report, Birdie combined data from 106 responses to an online survey, collected between January 13 and January 27 2021, with a record of existing data from over 3,000 care businesses in the UK.