It's been well-documented that this year’s unprecedented circumstances have led to an accelerated uptake in technology. The sector agrees that if there is some good to come from this awful pandemic, it is the greater use of technology in care.
So what might that home care technology look like?
A world of data
Our vision is for a world with joined-up data about care. Where information about people receiving care is connected, not siloed, to give a bigger picture of what they need to live a fulfilling life. Where software providers work in collaboration, not confrontation, aligning systems with the shared purpose of supporting the delivery of outstanding home care.
Accurate and reliable data about home care is so limited. Despite valiant efforts from the likes of UKHCA and LaingBuisson, there is no nationalised data set giving the complete picture of home care within the UK.
But with the CQC stating its intention to “spend more time monitoring and analysing data using technology, rather than through inspection activity” and calls from sector leaders for “real-time data generated as a by-product of digitisation of homecare services”, change is imminent.
As software providers we are uniquely placed to make this happen. Many of us already provide real-time insights to homecare agencies using our software, insights that are relied upon to ensure safe, efficient and responsive care. Why not join forces to make those insights even more powerful through big data analysis? And find a way for that data to inform a nationwide understanding of care? To provide that much-needed evidence base for social care, the absence of which is so frequently a barrier to recognition and investment.
Like many other aspects of society, COVID-19 has raised substantial questions about what the right kind of care looks like. Care is being reimagined for the future, with technology at the forefront of discussions. From Hampshire Council trialling cobots, to a ‘living lab’ pairing sensors, apps and Alexas, care tech is having a big moment.
But it is vital that this technology talks. Too often, the data collected by these great pieces of kit sits isolated. Imagine the power if we were to bring all that data together into a detailed “big picture” of a care recipient’s life. What a meaningful difference could care make when informed by such powerful intelligence?
MVP mentality - say what?
Finally, if there is one lesson to be taken from this year’s events, it is that we can change and we can do it quickly.
Our hope is that the adaptability shown during 2020 will lead to a greater ‘MVP’ or ‘minimum viable product’ approach in future. Defined in the tech world as a version of a new product which allows for a maximum amount of learning with the least effort, an MVP approach increases pace of change and drives innovation. It would see care providers more inclined to pilot and refine, assessing technology on its merits in action.
This approach would enable the home care sector to reach that glimpse of a different future that we’ve seen this year, before it fades into a distant memory.
Unique IQ’s vision of home care technology in the future? A world where outstanding care is fuelled by the very best of what technology has to offer. Technology that helps us focus on the most important thing – care.