no company logocircle

Are people getting the home care they need? It’s becoming a question of data.

Paul Botsford, Head of Assisted Living Technology & Services at Beanbag Care, assesses the pivotal role of data within Care and how it plays into the vision set out in the recent Adult Social Care Reform Whitepaper - 'People at the Heart of Care'.

The Government has finally published its long heralded Adult Social Care Reform Whitepaper.

The ten year plan to reform the sector promises to place ‘People at the Heart of Care’ – people being both those who deliver and receive care.

A keystone to ensuring care in the future is more people centric, is accelerating the implementation and use of technology.

In the whitepaper the Government earmarked £150 million to drive greater adoption of technology and achieve widespread digitisation across adult social care in England.

Only through increased funding and prioritisation can digital tools and technology support ‘independent living and improve the quality of care.’

One section of the whitepaper that caught my eye discussed the significance of data.

“We have an ambitious vision for reform – but we do not currently have good enough data to know whether people are consistently getting the care they need.” (7.34)

It is an important question, because how will we know that we are improving the quality of care unless we find ways to monitor and measure it.

Earlier this year Secure UK Ltd took the opportunity to measure the technology temperature of commercial home care owners and managers.

In a widely distributed survey, care leaders were asked what technology they had invested in to date, and what their expectations were for the future role of innovation.

So far, the more popular technologies have been business process and management solutions, such as care scheduling products that monitors time & task carer activity via mobile apps – registering 95% and 86% uptake accordingly.

This is unsurprising when you think about it: these solutions are more helpful than disruptive - easy to understand and quick to implement.

The least adopted of the home care solutions were those for automated and digital customer feedback – with only a 5% uptake.

Our research dug a little deeper and revealed that 85% of businesses only sought formal customer feedback quarterly or less.

This is low for any service sector business.

Accessing regular, honest feedback from customers not only displays good business governance and leadership, but is also key to ensuring that standards of care are improved and maintained.

The care businesses we surveyed also recognise a range of benefits from easy, regular customer feedback, with benchmarking quality, identifying problems quickly and improving CQC ratings, coming out on top.

Beanbag Care, Secure UK Ltd’s exclusive suite of smart home care solutions, enables the customer to quickly rate every care visit (if they so choose), giving the care recipient and provider more control over service quality.

What’s become clear from the Whitepaper is that national and local governments will also seek better access to data on customer wellbeing and the quality of care delivered, not just ‘time and task’.

This could place further responsibility on the already sagging shoulders of home care providers.

“As we invest in reform, we need to tackle this data gap. At a local level, providers and commissioners of services need high quality and timely data, to commission and deliver services that meet the needs of their populations and improve the quality of care. Local authorities also need to manage local provider markets to provide choice and continuity of care.” (7.34)

I also think, that as smart care technology becomes more widely accepted, available, and affordable, CQC will increasingly link the use of effective technology to better ratings.

Even if you’re not ready to purchase at this time grab a quick overview of the capabilities and benefits of evolving smart care technology, so it’s easier for you to make informed decisions when in the time is right.

Paul Botsford is the Head of Assisted Living Technology & Services at Secure, the developers of Beanbag Care.

Partners & Associates