5G technology – the next generation of wireless network – has the potential to transform health and social care. As highlighted in a recent report by the Liverpool 5G testbed, one of a series of projects testing the possibilities of 5G, the speed and reliability of 5G technology “makes it perfect for supporting health devices that people rely on to stay well”.¹
The use of digital tools within care is already increasing rapidly. “Digital transformation” is dominating the conversation right now in the care sector, with tech companies and regulatory bodies alike driving innovation and the adoption new technologies. In our recent blog, we talked about how technology can improve the quality of care, highlighting the recent Care Innovation Challenge hackathon, and the release of a suite of case studies on technology-enabled care by the Care Quality Commission.
5G provides the opportunity to be truly transformational. The faster speeds, increased traffic capacity and greater reliability of 5G will enable us to be more connected than ever before. We’re not just talking about less buffering on YouTube, remote care becomes a very real possibility – from virtual communities that reduce loneliness amongst the elderly, to being able to monitor whether medication is being taken correctly via video link-up, to even minor surgery being performed remotely.²
Innovating and experimenting with mobile and wireless technology have been watchwords here at Unique IQ since the company was founded. Four years ago we launched IQ:timecard MOBILE to the market; one of the first products to facilitate clocking in and out via a smartphone rather than a landline, it freed-up home carers to make the person they were caring for their first priority when arriving at a visit, rather than their client’s landline.
Several iterations on, the app has undergone significant developments to become an essential tool in a care support workers kit bag. Full details of a client’s care plan are now available in the palm of a carers hand. By utilising push notifications, both carer and manager can be alerted in real-time to any schedule changes or issues. Carers can even dictate notes using voice to text functionality, giving them more time to focus on the person in front of them, as well as reducing handwriting errors.
The future is to remove the need for manual procedures all together. Our patent pending IQ:passive technology is harnessing geo-fencing technology to automate clocking in and out, monitoring care delivery with much greater precision whilst simultaneously expanding the time a care worker has to truly focus on the person their caring for. Meanwhile, digitalised and centralised care records such as eMAR (electronic medication administration record) are the next generation in person-centred care, available at the time of need and the touch of a button.
The results of the 5G test projects such as the Liverpool 5G testbed are proving that connectivity is the key to transforming the way we live our lives, with 5G “the latest tool in the box alongside Wi-Fi and previous generations of mobile technology”. And whilst the care sector might be viewed as something of a “laggard” in its digital maturity, the potential and the technology is there, with the appetite close behind it. We’re seeing domiciliary care agencies calling out for digital tools, recognising the transformational effect they can have both on their business, and on care.
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