The adult social care sector is at the beginning of a digital revolution. And we’ve already seen huge adoption of tech across social and health settings. But to meet the needs of tomorrow and improve outcomes for people, it must embrace even greater innovation. That is why NHSX is exploring the ground-breaking ways artificial intelligence (AI) could revolutionise the way local authorities, providers and technology companies deliver care as part of its National AI in Health and Adult Social Care Strategy.
What is artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.
AI technology is distinguished by its ability to gather large amounts of data, process it and give a well-defined output to the end-user. AI does this through machine learning algorithms and deep learning. These algorithms can recognise patterns in behaviour and create their own logic to determine solutions, much faster than humans can.
What are the applications of AI in health care and social care?
- Monitor long term conditions remotely – with results sent directly to medical professionals
- Assist in the diagnosis of health conditions and diseases
- Help identify health care patterns across local areas
- Better manage human and physical resources
- Predict current and future health and care trends
And it may seem futuristic, but it is already being deployed in some care settings. E.g to detect micro-expressions in clients and AI like OptifAI to intelligently schedule field-based carers.
Currently, the NHSX is evaluating a number of practical schemes to explore the benefits of AI in health care and social care settings. This includes acoustic monitoring integrated with electronic care planning, remote monitoring of vital signs and predictive analytics to assess risk and trigger care interventions.
What are the benefits of AI in health care and social care?
- Reduce administrative costs by automating processes
- Identify emerging or future health trends – allowing providers to plan accordingly
- Help spot undiagnosed conditions in clients – improving quality of care
- Plan more efficient schedules for carers
- Automate medication administration – reducing errors
What are the challenges of artificial intelligence (AI)?
The biggest challenge when talking about AI is people’s perception. Often when AI is discussed, people immediately think of Hollywood movies in which an AI takes over the world. Or imagine scenarios where robots end up doing our jobs!
How to prepare health & social care staff for artificial intelligence (AI)
Firstly, AI shouldn’t be a source of fear. You and your team members have already been exposed to many forms of AI probably without even knowing it! Asked Alexa or Siri for help? Yep, that’s AI! Taken a picture using Portrait mode? AI strikes again! Scrolled for hours on social media? Your feed is curated using complex AI algorithms!
At the end of the day, AI is already all around us – and most of us find it really helpful.
Remove the fear
The key here is in communicating with your teams. Be open and transparent about the benefits of using AI technology and how it will benefit their job roles. And ultimately have a positive impact on clients and the quality of care they receive. Talk about some of the examples above, the simple technologies they are already using and make connections to how workplace Ai will similarly make their lives easier.
Continuous learning should already be a key part of your culture. Training and seminars prior to the implementation of AI is the best way to set proper expectations on how AI will be rolled out. It may take some time for the AI to be embraced by the whole team, but you need to encourage employees to be open to new ideas.
Get buy-in from key people in each team who can help their peers get to grips with automation technology. After all, it’s the people working on the front line within each department who are best placed to identify high-volume mundane tasks or process bottlenecks that are ripe for automation.
What’s next for technology companies like Unique IQ?
We believe that Ai is the next logical step for care management software, which is why we are prioritising the application of AI in all our next-generation development. Our vision is to:
- Open up a world of data – AI will constantly comb through mountains of incoming data to surface important information.
- Alert you to regional trends and identify emerging care needs
- Measure your data against real-world information – e.g carer travel vs weather conditions
- Help you to schedule and roster – using AI to make the best decisions with the resources available
Read more about the future of AI and our tech here