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Making the Leap from Analogue to Digital Telecare

Paul Allis

Brain in Hand

25 July 2017

Faced with increasing demand for services and tightening budgets, commissioners and providers expect digital technology to play a significant role in the transformation of healthcare services.  

The push to harness the opportunities digital technology can provide, be it scaling services to reach more people or enabling new models of care, is supported by a pull from consumers: 75% of us go online to research our health and 70% of people over 50 want to use digital healthcare services.   

Telecare is central to this digital push. Research suggests that local authorities using telecare in a targeted way can save £3m to £7.8m. For the NHS, savings can be made as a result of early intervention and preventing crisis.  

Organisations commissioning and providing services are now looking at how best to move to digital telecare, using standard operating platforms such as IOS and Android to deliver services, bringing truth to the much used term ‘interoperable’. But to realise results significant changes need to be made.  

Brain in Hand has helped organisations move to providing digital support to people with mental health conditions, autism and learning difficulties. Organisations typically see annual savings of £4,500 per individual, and users report a reduction in anxiety and greater independence, transforming their quality of life. Here are our top five recommendations for success:   

  1. Identify user needs – any move to change must be led by user needs. Be clear about the top needs of the user. Don’t be led by what technology can do. Once needs are established, then work with technologists to identify solutions. 
  2. Quantify return on investment – telecare providers should be able to give you an estimate of the savings that can be expected, based on evidence. A pilot programme will enable you to track and measure the actual impact. This data will be vital for the programme to scale. 
  3. Support culture change – technology is only effective if staff embrace it. Train all team members and help them understand how it will improve support and their role. Select champions to keep the momentum going.
  4. Address security issues/concerns – security is the #1 concern of digital health patients. Ensure security is addressed across the technology itself and the processes wrapped around it. Let residents, family and staff know where data is held, how it is protected and who can and can’t access it. 
  5. Encourage consumer adoption - key to success is the quick, effective usage by consumers. Digital platforms permit new levels of personalisation be achieved at scale, enabling consumers to engage and take ownership the system, delivering the best outcomes. Usage is also strengthened when services are delivered through everyday technology such as a phone and accessed discretely through an app.  

Although mobile phones are now ‘part of the furniture’, the use of assistive technology within support organisations is very much in its infancy. Early adopters are starting to see the benefits of integrating technology into support operations to effectively deliver greater independence.

Paul Allis, Business Development Director, Brain in Hand

Partners & Associates