8 November 2023
By Mike Nash - TEC Expert at PA Consulting
The Technology Enabled Care (TEC) sector is rapidly entering the digital era. The mainstreaming of digital TEC, driven by the migration of the UK’s current telephone network(which is due to conclude in 2025), has resulted in:
Collectively, this represents a significant opportunity to achieve better outcomes for people.
The latest TEC Expert Session, a partnership between PA Consulting and the TSA, explored these opportunities. This took the form of an innovation workshop, attended by sector experts and councils with an interest in how they can leverage the benefits of the technology.
“The TEC Expert Session was genuinely insightful and thought provoking. It was helpful to bring everyone together to hear from others about their experiences. This has enhanced our own thinking and will help us to shape our future ambition.”
– TEC Expert Attendee
In this blog, we’ll share some of the thoughts and ideas that came out of the TEC Expert Session through Harry’s experience.
Meet Harry, a retiree living alone, concerned about his safety after a recent fall. Harry wants to maintain his independence without feeling monitored or overly cared for. Harry decided to speak to his social worker about how digital TEC could support him.
Digital technology enables us to do old things in better ways, as well as new things
Digital TEC provides a solution to Harry’s needs – devices placed in discreet locations around the home, which use unobtrusive sensors and advanced algorithms, automatically detect falls and monitor other vital signs such as body temperature. His privacy concerns are addressed, as the system only shares essential information. He soon forgets about the discreet devices in his house when going about his day-to-day life, however, he has the reassurance that he will be connected to support in the event of an emergency.
So far, so good; Harry remains safe and independent at home – and there is no need to wear a traditional falls detector every day.
Intelligence-led approaches enable a more proactive and preventative service
The devices in Harry’s home continuously share data, which can be combined with other behavioural information – for example the step count from his smartphone – to understand what “a normal day” looks like.
This data forms a baseline for Harry's daily life. Over time, this data reveals a decline in his activity, possibly due to a recent heatwave. Harry’s family are informed of the potential change in his health and well-being – they encourage him to stay hydrated in the hot weather. If needed, Harry's social worker could also intervene to understand if there are any further underlying reasons for the change in behaviour. This preventative action supports Harry's safety and well-being, whilst preventing a potential future fall.
Again – Harry has been kept safe at home, with minimal disruption.
Opportunities to work together as a Health and Care system
Harry's data, along with that of similar individuals, contributes to a rich dataset. Health and care commissioners collaborate to analyse key trends and devise interventions. This could include piloting new technology designed to prevent falls, which Harry volunteers to take part in. The data from his devices demonstrates that his activity levels have risen since the pilot began, and that he is becoming less susceptible to a fall.
Harry has again been supported to remain safe and independent, without unnecessary disruption to his life. Furthermore, the health and care sector has relieved the pressure on services by reducing the likelihood of a future fall – which could have led to a hospital admission, an enablement package and potentially longer-term support.
In Harry’s journey through the world of digital care technology, we’ve seen how someone might benefit from the shift to digital technology and how it can achieve better outcomes for individuals, whilst relieving pressure on the wider system.
In partnership with the TSA, PA Consulting is committed to supporting the TEC commissioning community to navigate the complexity of the fast-moving TEC sector, so it is best placed to deliver better outcomes for as many people as possible.
To support that aim, we are co-hosting a series of TEC Expert sessions.These are taking place in December 2023 and February 2024, where we will discuss key service enablers such as culture and data.
To find out more, click here.