By Bethany Hemsley
A report by Public Policy Projects, in partnership with Tunstall Healthcare, has found that many care homes understand the benefits of Technology-Enabled Care Services (TECS) but feel there are barriers to its use.
The report looks at five types of TECS: teleconsultation, teletriage, telemonitoring, reminder technology and assistive technologies.
TECS use in social care:
- 76 percent of social care providers use assistive tech, however, only 19% used them as a core part of their service provision.
- In fact, one in five social care providers do not use any assistive technologies at all.
- 81 percent of organisations using assistive tech believed they were not using the technology to its full potential.
- 76 percent of carers believed assistive tech improved outcomes for recipients and 60 percent agreed the assistive tech solutions gave them peace of mind.
The report revealed the main barrier to greater use of TECS is funding.
Gavin Bashar, managing director of Tunstall Healthcare UK & Ireland, said: “The last decade has seen an exponential rise in the use of technology in the home, with smart speakers, heating and lighting systems now commonplace. And yet this increased adoption has not been mirrored in health and care provision. The NHS is still using fax machines, and domiciliary care workers continue to fill in paperwork in folders to record care visits.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has starkly illustrated why this has to change. Technology connects people, it enables integrated care provision and empowers people to manage their own health and wellbeing. It must play a pivotal role in the way we remodel services in a post-Covid-19 world to create a true ‘healthcare’ system.”
Recommendations to drive the adoption of TECS:
- The government should support the social care sector to become more technologically enabled and meet the minimum technology standards to use technologies, such as remote GP appointments. Many care homes lack fundamental technology, such as Wi-Fi.
- The rapid digitalisation of the care sector during COVID-19 should not be reversed once the pandemic is over. Progress should be maintained and best practice should be shared.
- Sufficient training in TECS should be included in all health and social care education and CPD.