Mark Kennion, commercial director of HAS Technology writes about the technological needs that have faced health and social care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UK is in the midst of a crisis, and the health and social care sector is sitting right at the heart.
In a recent press briefing, the government announced a new ‘taskforce’, set up by ministers to support the care sector as we face the coming COVID waves.
As further support continues to be announced, it’s becoming apparent that the future of health and social care will rely heavily on technology. Tests will be available via an online portal, as is much of the governments support. And, with social distancing here to stay for the foreseeable future, technology will be key in connecting individuals, whether it be clients and their loved ones, staff members providing care, or teams accessing additional support.
Yet, before the pandemic hit the nation, the industry was facing immense strain due to a range of factors including staff shortages and inadequate funding. To make matters worse, the sector was very much sitting in the past in terms of adopting up to date and modern systems.
For years, the Department of Health & Social Care has acknowledged how far behind time much of the tech used within the sector is. Yet, with delays in actioning any change, decision makers, although recognising the need for a change, have not been quick to implement technology.
Now though, technology has become a necessity, offering a quick and sometimes immediate resolution to the isolation issues.
Digital transformation now offers the capability of delivering intelligence via market insight, data collection, care delivery and prevention, working to support professionals make evidence based, quality and cost-effective solutions – much-needed whilst facing limited time and resources.
Market insight tools, such as our very own PAMMS, can also help decision makers in the sector to make informed decisions within a time of constantly evolving developments. Market insight data is crucial to the future of sustainable care, enabling flexible data collection that provides a 360-degree view of care delivery. Through harnessing the power of data, it also provides the ability to move from the delivery of quality care, to the delivery of intelligent quality care.
As we face the predicted oncoming waves of COVID-19, being able to view real-time information within care teams, including capacity, will be key to enabling care settings to make the most of their team’s valuable time. And, for care workers delivering home visits, mobile technology has made it much simpler to keep in touch with team members working remotely, monitor time spent on visits, and ensure safeguarding for clients and staff.
This up to date and immediately available information provides a clearer and more accurate overview of care workers time and visits, helping to improve daily scheduling and deal with any crisis quickly and efficiently. With technology on the market becoming less intrusive than ever before, it’s becoming easier to put in place quickly and efficiently.
In addition to this, with machine learning developing at a fast rate, it’s possible to adapt technology as times and situations change. Currently, monitoring isn’t just observational, but forward-thinking with the way it uses data to make predictions, whether this is market knowledge, or monitoring of an individual’s health.
It’s also important to note that these technological advances won’t just benefit service users, but they’ll also positively impact care professionals too. With solutions helping them work more effectively and safely, those working in the health and social care field are utilising technology to help them feel more knowledgeable, less stressed and, overall, much happier. Under the stresses of our current climate, this will be invaluable.
It’s evident that technology provides an effective way to move forward when it comes to coping under the increasing pressure anticipated over the coming weeks and months. But will this be taken seriously?
To date, the most common reason for the avoidance of rolling out new technologies has been down to fear of change and concern over negative attitudes from older generations.
However, in our experience, we’ve found little resistance when installing our technology solutions. In fact, many of those receiving care are willing and eager to welcome new changes.
For example, with our wearable technology solution ARMED, we’ve seen many individuals becoming more active as they have been motivated by the insight their daily health data provides. This has also been true for professionals who have quickly realised how technology solutions are enabling them to carry out their work more effectively.
So, as we face the immediate need to act quickly or be swept under a COVID-19 current, technology could be a feasible solution. Health and social care professionals and decision-makers need to increase their confidence as this may become an issue of survival, for which technology may be their saving grace.