The landscape of the care sector is evolving. Technology is being used to improve the quality of care provided and improve services across the board, as well as improve the care experience of people using services. The sector is becoming increasingly ready to adopt new ways of operating. In this post, I address how technology is enabling the care sector.
Innovations to the sector
Within social care alone there are 18,500 operators in the UK, with approximately 70% of which still operate on paper. However, the COVID-19 crisis has forced many care providers, from care homes to social care providers, charities and assisted living operators, to adopt a more digital approach. Technology has enabled businesses throughout the sector to quickly overcome many of the issues associated with self isolation and social distancing, using tools such as Skype to allow residents and service users to connect with family and friends when they need them the most.
In recent years, we’ve seen an array of technological advances which have helped the care sector. GPS trackers to locate people quickly and safely, automatic pill dispensers that set off an alarm when it’s time to take medication and provide the correct dosage, and smart wearable sensors for monitoring and reporting heart rates or if someone has had a fall are just a few of the innovations widely in use. It’s fair to say technology is making a significant difference in care and attitudes towards it are changing.
Technology enabling person-centred care
Throughout the care industry, one thing is prevalent - care should be person centred. It should be focused upon the individual needs of the person requiring the care and support. Technology facilitates this. Monitoring, data analytics, passive and active reporting driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning is making a huge difference to the sector and the quality of care and support delivered. Plus, technology is creating the opportunity to have more time to connect with and talk to people in ways that the current time-constrained care workers have. It is facilitating communication between people using services, professionals and staff, as well as allowing staff to prioritise and focus their attention on the people who need it the most.
Going forward, assistive technology will be crucial in order to meet care demands. Technology will allow care providers to become more progressive, and shift from being reactive to being preventative. Through assistive technology, those requiring care or support will be able to become more independent and empowered, allowing them to live healthier, happier lives.
The world is moving towards an increasingly digital future, and the care sector needs technology to progress and become digitally enabled. Through using assisted, predictive technology, data can be used to allow care providers to deliver more efficient, higher quality care that is more cost effective.