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  • 08 July 2021
  • 3 min read

Social Care Needs To Adopt Technology Faster

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    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Matt Farrah
  • 0
  • 1061
"The public’s expectations are often beyond what is available."

80% of Social Care is still using manual, paper-based systems. It’s time we embrace technology. The public expect it and it will empower Registered Managers.

Social care has been notoriously conservative in adopting new technology versus other industries – e.g., logistics or retail.

Think about how often your package comes with a delivery window.

Consider when you go to a restaurant; the server that selects your food choice from an electronic menu.

When you’re at the checkout of a supermarket…. Just how long have they been scanning barcodes to keep track of stock?

Exactly: decades.

There are many reasons behind Social Care’s tardiness when it comes to digitisation.

One of them is down to the fact that many of the leaders of businesses have come up through the ranks of Social Care or Healthcare.

Their own lived experience is a paper-based one.

For them it is acceptable because it is the norm.

They often don’t have experience of the transformational effect of technology and so are understandable unaware how right tech can make their service and business run more effectively.

In the last 5 years, new tech suppliers in the UK are coming to market with some very innovative solutions.

And yet, approximately 80% of the Social Care sector is still using manual, paper-based systems around care delivery and governance. A CEO of a long-established tech supplier recently explained:

“The main issue with those who don’t have systems to help with care and governance is that a Registered Manager will spend an hour just trying to work out what went on at a given moment in time with speaking to many people, checking various paper records etc..

They are then tasked with putting the pieces together and writing it up.

Whereas, in a home with relevant tech, they will spend their time looking at the info and data, what it is telling them and then take action on it”

In my experience working as a Care Home Manager working with and without technology, this is quite true.

As the public has become better educated in technology thanks to the web and apps for many everyday things.

The public’s expectations are often beyond what is available - why can’t I get an email response to how my mum is? Right now?

They know what is possible and don’t understand why it’s not happening.

Of course, care is not about a team of people in an office answering emails providing customer support.

If there are 90 residents and you get 15 email updates as the Registered Manager, you will struggle to cope.

The staffing levels for supernumerary staff are usually not high enough to allow for a fully-fledged customer service support service providing regular updates.

Doing so would put weekly care rates up as it stands.

But there are IT systems that would allow families access to “see” the care their loved one is getting digitally - allowing for transparency.

This technology is out there and ought to be adopted more universally.

Where it is installed it is proving very popular, especially for those unable to visit.

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About the author

Liam Palmer is the author of 3 books on raising quality standards in care homes through developing leadership skills. In Oct 2020, he published a guide to the Home Manager role called "So You Want To Be A Care Home Manager?". Liam has been fortunate to work as a Senior Manager across many healthcare brands including a private hospital, a retirement village and medium to large Care Homes in the private sector and 3rd sector. He hosts a podcast "Care Quality - meet the leaders and innovators”.

    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Matt Farrah
  • 0
  • 1061

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