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ITEC Conference 2022: Making TEC Ergonomic and Brave

We’ve just returned from the TSA’s ITEC Conference in Birmingham after two years of forced absence, and I don’t think they could have chosen a more relevant theme for the challenges we face - ‘Unlocking Personalised Outcomes: Life and Living Empowered by Digital Care.’

From my perspective, developing home care technology is about striking a balance.

On the one hand, we must push the boundaries of innovation to find new solutions for deeply ingrained problems, particularly around the much talked about demographic challenges and improving care quality with stretched resources.

The government agrees, and in its recent Adult Social Care Reform White Paper it said it was: “Committing at least £150 million of additional funding to drive greater adoption of technology and achieve widespread digitisation across social care.”

On the other hand, we must also remember that we operate in a very sensitive market, with often vulnerable customers, and technologies that become trusted and essential to the wellbeing of older people and their loved ones.

So I’m acutely aware of the many directions we could take our independent living solution, Beanbag Care, but try to ergonomically shape our offering to meet the needs of real people – of real lives.

Early Stage Feedback

Some of our most valuable early stage feedback came from specially organised focus groups, and I recall our Clinical Lead testing kit over tea and coffee with the a group from the Bristol Older People’s Forum (BOPF).

We quickly realised we needed to make adjustments to our initial offering.

Some changes simply made Beanbag Care easier to use, read and interact with, while others demanded new functionality. This included allowing users the option of providing more detailed feedback on the quality of their home care.

Enabling regular or more frequent feedback to help drive more insightful, proactive and personalised home care has been an important strategic objective for Beanbag Care from the get-go.

A recent survey of care recipients conducted by the CQC demonstrates why:

  • 37% of people aged over 55 surveyed stated that they knew little about how to give feedback.
  • 27% said they did not know how to share feedback, but knew where to go to find out how.
  • 34% didn’t know how to share feedback and didn’t know where to find out how.

It’s my firm opinion that using in-home TEC systems to make feedback on home care more regular and accessible empowers lives and unlocks personal outcomes.

Why? Because in order to understand and respond to the needs of customer, we must first listen to them.

We also recently surveyed owners and managers of home care providers on their approach to feedback, and discovered 85% sought feedback from customers quarterly or less.

Unfortunately, this lags behind many other areas of the service industry, such as hospitality, who rely on feedback to help shape their decision making.

Data connectivity

Some of the challenges that care providers face can be tackled with improved interconnectivity, which is another important theme for the service user and the sector as a whole.

The joy of digital is that data can be collected form homes, assimilated, and shared with numerous relevant audiences.

Granulated data can aid decision making for care providers, council commissioners, and the CQC - whilst also supporting partnership activities and the co-design of services.

Data connectivity enables designated family members and loved ones to be party to feedback via the Beanbag Care smartphone app, keeping everyone reassured and ‘in the loop’ - connecting the multiple people that are often involved when caring for someone at home.

We’ve come a long way since Secure UK Ltd launched Beanbag Care (we recently received Quality Standards Framework accreditation by TEC Quality, a subsidiary of the TEC Service Association), and we’ll constantly seek to improve our proposition.

And that brings me on onto my final point. Achieving the goals outlined by this year’s conference theme will require new and disruptive thinking and approaches.

The mission for the TEC sector is to try and shape digital game changers, and for Beanbag Care, this has meant developing smart technology that can identify changes in behaviour and monitor the home environment - combined with feedback from the individual.

This blend of data delivers powerful insight into a person’s evolving needs, so services can be optimised to achieve the best outcome.

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

 

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