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Providing care is about connections, people and the humanity we give to each other through our relationships. In a sector that has long been dominated by that most inherently human of ideals it is understandable that introducing technology can be a daunting process.
This can be compounded by the term ‘digital transformation’, which seems to indicate you’ll be changing everything about how you provide care when you begin to digitise your processes. It can be more helpful to think about ‘digital assistance’. Technology can never replace - or indeed reduce - the human element of care. It can, however, help you move your focus away from administration and give you more time to focus on building connections with your team and service users.
There are a wealth of options that cover a variety of aspects of care. Are you looking to digitise your care records for presentation to the CQC? Can you improve your call monitoring methods without interfering with the working system you have now? Maybe you are drawn to an all in one system to cover your bases generally?
carestockroom has already published both a buyers and an implementation guide to help walk you through the specific processes of ‘going digital’. So here the focus is on giving you 4 quick tips to be aware of when you start your journey towards developing digital assistance for your care company.
This might seem like a simple one but it is a crucial step. There is a lot of external pressure on providers to introduce technology: the creation of Integrated Care Systems to work alongside CCGAs, the developments outlined in the government's Innovation and Integration white paper published in February as well as the CQC’s new strategy highlighting their increasing focus on digital records to name but a few of the more substantial influences.
However, the most important question is specific to you: Do we need this?
No one knows your care like you, so no one will know what you need as well as you. By understanding what you want to digitise, be it care plans, medical administration records or rotas, you’ll be better equipped to explore your options.
Some technology suppliers are modular, meaning you can pick and choose the parts you need which brings a degree of freedom but generally costs more. On the other hand, some systems are ‘all-in-one’, which gives you the benefit of a universal solution with the potential downside that they can be limited in scope. Still other solutions specialise in providing robust digital solutions to a single aspect of providing care, such as recruitment, rostering or point of care.
Knowing what your company needs (and who in your company needs it, from the care coordinator to the service user’s family) is the surest way to navigate the ‘digital spaghetti’.
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a feature of some systems that will become more and more relevant as digitisation progresses throughout the sector. Having an API allows two different systems to speak directly to each other and exchange information. APIs silently power the everyday information economy: ever check for weather updates on your phone? An API made that possible!
Choosing suppliers whose solutions have an API can help to maintain flexibility and future proof your system. As the sector continues to move towards further data integration and exchange, an API will allow you to integrate with other systems without needing to manually exchange information.
The more information we share, the more complete and robust care can be for service users. Utilising technology with an API means you can easily exchange information now, and you will be prepared for developments in information sharing in the future. You can learn more about APIs here.
Technology tools aren’t built by robots. They’re built by teams of people, just like your own teams. You will need to talk to – and build a relationship of trust with - the people behind the tech you’re buying, whether it is a sales call, onboarding or ongoing support. So make sure they’re nice people!
Care is a vital service for hundreds of thousands of people in the UK. You need to know that when something goes wrong, whether through user or system error, that you can rely on the team delivering your tech the same way you can rely on the team delivering your care. There are a number of ways you can look for reviews of your options. The most prominent being Trust Pilot or the Google reviews on their business page.
Hopefully, these quick tips will help guide you as you look for the best digital assistance for yourself, your staff and the people you take care of.
Many thanks to the lovely team at CarePlanner Home Care Software for sharing their digital care expertise.