Technology's positive role

By David Lynes, Managing Director of Unique IQ

Earlier this month I was asked to contribute to a feature on technology’s role in a crisis for Home Care Insight magazine.

The feature focused on how the need for remote working and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in home care providers reviewing their processes and realising the benefits of going digital.

Having written back in May about how the care sector was innovating like never before, four months on, and technology’s role in responding to the coronavirus crisis has become patently clear.

Every single care provider we work with has pivoted to digital ways of working in some form during the pandemic. For some, it was using tools they already had available in a new way. For others, it was to resolve a small, medium or large challenge in how they operate. While others have completely changed the way they work.

We’ve rolled out full digital transformation projects at speed, because care providers could see the huge benefit of switching from paper to digital, to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

We’ve created new features that care providers told us would be useful in this unique situation. This included tools like a ‘RAG’ status for clients, which care managers could use to assess the level of risk to a client or for prioritising visits when there were challenges with staffing.

And we’ve helped home care organisations make the most of technology they already have – such as giving family members access to an online portal so that they could get up to date information about the care their loved ones were receiving.

We are far from alone in this. A few months ago, home care leaders agreed that if there could be some good to come out of the coronavirus pandemic, it was the change brought about by greater use of technology within the sector.

The case is certainly there. The TSA, and others, have shared powerful examples of technology-enabled care serving as a lifeline in lockdown for the 1.7 million vulnerable and older people in the UK who currently rely on it. Meanwhile, the ROI on care technology is estimated at 65-100%, if designed, implemented and evaluated properly.

Technology’s positive role in this crisis is laying the foundations for more long-term, sustained use of technology in care. We are seeing the home care sector genuinely start to pivot towards going fully digital. And the potential of this is hugely exciting.

We have set out our vision for the future of home care technology. A sector that is connected, collaborative and driven by data. That innovates and experiments. And is empowered to make meaningful change to the lives of the people it cares for, by harnessing the power of technology.

We have been inspired by the transformation we are seeing all around us. The challenge now is to maintain the momentum.