Where are you on your digital journey? Highlights from the Care Home of the Future webinar — Part 2

PainChek has partnered with Person Centred Software, ATLAS eMAR and Ascom in the UK to launch the ‘Care Home of the Future’ — an initiative that helps the care home sector move towards a stronger post-COVID future.

In Part I of our highlights, webinar panellists Vic Rayner, Martin Green, and Ernie Graham explore the importance of digitising care, and the role regulators can play along the journey. In Part II, our panellists turn to the future of technology in the care home.

If you missed Part I, please click here to read our highlights.

Note: the content of the webinar has been edited for readability purposes. If you’d prefer to watch the webinar in its entirety, register here to access the full video.

DH: Going beyond care planning and medication management, what other types of innovative or progressive technology do you see emerging in the future?

EG: To date, care homes are actively recording what has been done in order to get better records and look back over the past.

The big thing for me is to move into the present with positive means of recording people's lived experience - so things like where a person is during the day and where the staff are at any point in time.

We also need things like passive monitoring of people’s health and well being, particularly during the night.

Ultimately, we need to be entering data through a passive means to record movement, vital signs, and other things that may indicate how well we are looking after people.

MG: It should be about delivering what might be described as proactive and preventative care. And if we get things right, we can do that. And so often in our current system, a lot of the care that’s delivered is reactive. And usually it happens after the crisis rather than being able to predict it and stop it happening.

VR: Back to your point, Drew, the question should be: what wouldn’t you digitise? Luckily, the good news for providers is that once you’ve done one element, adoption of other elements of digital practice is much more straightforward.

Once you’ve understood how best to train and support people, once you’ve understood how best to roll out systems, once you’ve understood how to test and trial systems within your organisation, you can use that learning for all sorts of different things.

There's a kind of iterative sort of process that goes on with the type of digital transformation that you've talked about.

DH: Let’s look at the transformation of care stage. The main question for many providers is: how long and what expense will it take?

EG: Talking from our first-hand experience, this has been a very, very long journey. And in fact, I think it’s a journey that there isn’t actually ever a final destination on because I think the nature of the digital world is that ever more than before, we need to be always on for constant change.

The systems will always be evolving, and we need to therefore reorient our approach to be in line with that constant evolution.

For us, our first thing was we started recording just what we always did but in digital form. I like to think about it is just recording history — making stuff easier to search and to investigate, but not really to change the fundamental processes of what we do.

I think the big change, which we’ve only got to get recently in our case, is having enough of digital systems in place so that we can get more towards what we now called real-time, or compliance management. So rather than having a report that comes at some stage after the event, it’s actually seeing things that might not be optimal and fixing it then and there.

However, the move to full-on digital working in real time is a significant change. It really is a completely different mindset.

If you’re trying to think of digitisation in terms of ‘by investing in some better technology, we’ll get some new revenue stream or somehow rather increase profitability’ — it’s probably unlikely to happen. In fact, in the short run it will probably increase operating costs. But in the long term, digitalisation is making one’s business more sustainable.

MG: I also think that one of the benefits of digital is that you can really embrace the productivity challenge, which is something our sector hasn’t thus far done particularly well. You can really see the ways in which you can reduce some of the transactional work that people do and that then frees them up to do the important relationship-based work.

Thank you again to Martin, Vic, and Ernie for sharing their insights with us. Building on this webinar, we will be hosting a follow-up session on 29th July at 1:15PM BST, where Claire Sutton (Digital Transformation Lead, Digital Social Care), Daniel Casson (Digital Development Executive, Care England) and Anita Astle MBE (Owner, Wrenhall) explore the benefits and risks when it comes to digital transformation in care.