Timing is right to go digital now
Social care is looking like one of the most promising sectors to benefit from digital solutions. With different approaches, many companies are weighing up their chances for a push into the care sector. And many providers are waiting for the final proof this is going to be as good as promised. That said, the timing seems right now.
"I've never seen so many software companies here before..." The words coming from an independent care consultant at this year's Health + Care in the London Excel (PLMR). And right he was. More than 10 companies focusing on digital care planning were represented at the venue, all investing in the marketplace at the moment. Among them capable solutions making a huge difference every day for those providers that know best how to leverage the opportunity and tool at their hand.
Already back in 2014, The Guardian published an article about technologies transforming adult social care. Looking into Skills for Care’s ongoing work on digital capabilities in the sector, a research team had asked more than 500 managers and staff in care services about their experiences. The result showed that more than 95% used different technologies in their work and that the great majority were strongly positive about "going digital". Mainly to improve the efficiency and quality of their care services.
Potential paperless barriers
Since then lots of solutions have been implemented (or worst case sold without much onboarding), but constraints around the most frequently cited barriers regarding device cost and internet connectivity, surfaced in the research.
Those barriers now seem to slowly evolve in the favour of the care providers. Today it is much easier to pick and choose between off the shelf devices at a more acceptable cost and both Wi-Fi and 4G has improved immensely together with the national connectivity ambition. Paving the way for sector relevant companies such as SKY, who not only helps care providers get online but understands to a much larger extent how providers can benefit from "going digital".
All in all the maturity of the available solutions and the user-friendliness of these seem to have increased alongside a more consumerised touch and feel, fighting off the "fear of technology" that some providers were betting on, when not gunning for the paperless shift.
A reasonable place to start is by evaluating which digital dishes to primarily eat from. Is it eMAR, fluid intake or care planning? Or all in one? With an instrument such the "digital value assessment" care providers are understanding what concrete potential digitisation possesses for their care services...