Young care worker caring for woman with injury

The Care Quality Commission is a keen supporter of technology as a driver for improving standards of care. One of its strategic priorities is to encourage innovation; to not let regulation stand in the way of digital developments, providing they do not come at the expense of high quality, person-centred care.

So how can home care organisations harness technology to address the CQC’s five key lines of enquiry? And use it to focus on delivering outstanding care?

Are they safe?

Keeping people safe is one of the clearest applications of technology in home care. From managing risk to the correct administration of medications, technology provides a host of safety measures that cannot be matched by manual processes.

Record keeping – moving from paper to digital records brings immediate benefits in making important documents more legible, secure and up-to-date. Records stored digitally within the cloud are inherently more secure due to the safety protocols associated with this management system. They can also be updated more quickly than a paper record, with the updated version made available immediately to those who rely on it.

Managing medications – introducing an Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) system brings numerous advantages over paper MAR charts, such as reminding carers to administer medication, triggering instant alerts if critical medication is missed and reducing mistakes from handwriting errors.

Ensuring there are sufficient numbers of staff – using an online scheduling and rostering system can provide an accurate, up-to-date view of the cover available for appointments, and automatically flag when a visit is in danger of being missed, without the need for constantly redrawing timetables.

Are they effective?

Effective care is about achieving good outcomes, with care that helps people maintain a quality of life and is based on the best available evidence. There are lots of examples of technology enhancing the delivery of effective care – from digital sensors that monitor a person’s wellbeing at home and raise an alarm when something doesn’t look right, to online platforms where professionals can share information and best practice, to using a mobile app to record notes during a domiciliary care visit.

In addition to this, care staff can be supported to deliver effective care through the use of HR systems which provide prompts when qualifications expire or when a particular area of training is needed.


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Are they caring?

Resistance to adopting technology in home care tends to revolve around the idea of nurturing human contact being replaced by a cold machine. The care sector is incredibly mindful of the importance of enhancing care with technology, not replacing it. Whilst it might sound like a contradiction, here are some of the ways in which technology can help domiciliary care organisations be more caring.

Making sure carers have enough time – using an electronic scheduling system can help home care agencies make sure their carers have enough time to attend to the needs of the people they care for. Appointments can be set to make sure that no carer is rushing to get through more visits than they can handle in any one day.

Taking account of people’s preferences – some online scheduling systems can automatically take into account a person’s likes and dislikes when organising their care package, making it possible to book the right person at the right time for the care they’d like to receive.

Are they responsive to people’s needs?

‘Person-centred’ is a watch word for care; on the road to becoming an Outstanding home care agency, the one recurring question is always whether the care that is being provided meets the needs of the people receiving it. Technology has a role to play in this aspect of care delivery too.

Delivering timely careelectronic call monitoring is an established system for overseeing visits and ensuring people receive care in a timely fashion. By logging when carers clock in and out, home care agencies can check that visits happen as planned, triggering notifications if an appointment is missed or a carer arrives late.

Involvement in care planning – thanks to the power of the internet, it’s easier than ever for clients and family members to have an involvement in their care, regardless of distance. Secure online portals are a way for family members to see details of the care their loved one has received, as well as an opportunity to share their wishes and observations.

Are they well-led?

Finally, the most important way that technology can assist a home care organisation in being well-led, is by providing centralised systems that can be used to monitor and improve the quality of care.

By utilising a digital care management system – which serves as a centralised repository of digital care plans and schedules, and which captures notes and activity logs from carers as they go about their daily work – care managers have access to a goldmine of data which can be interrogated and analysed. Well-led home care organisations will use this insight to spot patterns and look for trends, which in turn can be used to identify where improvements need to be made.


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