AI, Artificial Intelligence

By David Lynes, CEO & Founder of Unique IQ

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, has been a talking point in home care for some time.

In short, AI uses technology to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind, doing so much faster and on a much bigger scale than humans are capable of.

It helps us make sense of the massive amounts of data we have now – and do something useful with it.

There are many examples of AI applications in home care already, particularly in the analysis of data from sensors, wearables and other early detection systems.

The computational power of AI in these instances takes a broad set of data to establish a baseline of behaviour and trigger an alert when any new data falls outside of that normal range. That usually means something out of the ordinary has happened – for example, a person has fallen over, someone is wandering at night or they have started going to the bathroom much more frequently.

We believe that AI is the next logical step for care management software.

The product of moving to digital care records and electronic care systems is data. So let’s make that work for us and help us provide even better standards of personalised care.

Where we see AI fitting into home care software:

Discovery – using AI to constantly comb through mountains of incoming and historical data to surface important information and insights that we might otherwise never have known (or that it would take us a lifetime to find out). For example, it might reveal a steady but subtle increase in a particular type of medication amongst the people being cared for, which means that the needs of a client base is shifting. Staff skills and training might need to be reviewed to prepare for this change.

Sentiment analysis – AI can analyse client notes and assign specific words or phrases a positive, negative or neutral sentiment. By mapping that over time, the AI can indicate whether a client is moving towards a more positive or negative state of mind, which can help the care giver adapt their approach. We can see this kind of technology being applied to carers too, to help improve retention rates, which is a huge challenge for the care sector.

Real-world comparison – its ability to process massive amounts of data means AI can be extremely powerful for comparing data from a care management system with other information, such as from sensors, traffic information or even weather data. For example, AI could look at traffic patterns along a carer’s route at times when they have clocked-in late, potentially suggesting an alternative route under particular conditions.

Decision-making – scheduling and rostering is a complex process where we feel AI could be beneficial. There are numerous factors a care manager needs to consider when scheduling a visit, from travel times, to a carer’s experience, to a client’s preferences. Unique IQ’s care planning software already uses a 6-star system to help identify the best matched carer to a visit. AI can take this a step further by adding a layer of decision-making, factoring in things like carer satisfaction and profit margins to make the best decision with the resources available.

AI is here and already helping to drive care forward – the NHSX’s AI Lab has some great examples of AI social care. Soon AI will become a normal part of a care provider’s management software, helping them make the right decisions that balance the best interests of their clients, their carers and their business.

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