As we’re living in a digital age, technology interfaces with every aspect of our lives. Using mobile applications and the internet as a means of communication can make our lives easier; recording and storing information, sharing pictures with friends to booking train tickets. Yet, when it comes to applying such technology in our working lives, we start to become reluctant and less confident, especially in a social care situation as the information collected is often sensitive and highly confidential/personal.
With the Care Act 2014 placing greater emphasis on digital technology, we take a look at how it could possibly resolve the current crises in social care. Indeed, a key principle of the the act is a requirement to more widely embrace digital technology. Adult social care service users may also expect to see greater use of technology too.
Key issues facing social care in the UK today
- Lack of budget
- Lack of in – house skills
- Legacy systems
How can digital technology help improve the future delivery of social care?
- Better integration between health and social care
- Lower costs associated with delivering social care and save money
- Will have a big role to play in supporting new models of care
Main benefits to be gained from a shift to digital care services
- Reduced costs and improved efficiency
- Improved communication
- Improved multi agency working (supply)
- Improved customer satisfaction (demand)
Advanced technologies have an important role to play in improving the standards of care and those that work within it, there is a constant battle in the UK between an ageing population and the need to provide a high quality level of care, as we all know this is only going in one direction. This places an increasing pressure on health and social systems and processes with many providers struggling to efficiently maintain quality of care with shrinking resources. With the costs increasing and funding becoming more difficult outside the private arena, the social care industry as a whole must look to embrace the latest technologies to help both adults and children receive high quality care, reducing the need for maximum one on one assistance.
Developments in technology have allowed social care staff to support and improve patients’ quality of life, rather than simply meet basic needs. The business case for implementing technology in social care to deliver clear and tangible benefits is clear. But when we consider the true drivers of change and decision-making in the sector, we need to view technology as a component of development, not the solution to it.
Technology is all about empowerment, therefore to empower services and suppliers to develop in unison will lead to improvements for the end users. This is the value creation and this is what we are all striving for, hopefully!