Can care benefit from real time information services?

Standing in the bus shelter opposite Longniddry station on my way to East Lothian Council it’s pretty clear that real time information is an expected part of our lives. A quick look at the app on my phone and I can see where the bus is on the map and the number of minutes it will be until it arrives.

Whilst quality information services are expected parts of our lives, we often put up with far less.  When commissioners struggle to fund care and care providers themselves are feeling the ever increasing burden of care costs, it can be hard to see how these developments might be relevant.

Yet the use of accurate real time information holds huge possibilities. We have known for some time that care workers suffer under the burden of accessing, using and recording information.  What is less clear is the quality of that information, and by quality, I mean how the information and its use improves the lives of the customer.

One simple app used by children showed that they were more willing to share critical information that could help with their safety.  Moreover, a report is created by the app and critical information can be accessed by the worker prior to meeting, making the engagement that ever more valuable.

The use of analytics linked to data gathered by sensors, body worn and around the home, not only allows us to identify connections to inform what is monitored but also tune what we monitor to the individual.  For example, realising that someone’s gait is changing before they fall rather than giving them an alarm to use once they have fallen.  This approach increases independence and can reduce the cost of support by two thirds.

Without access to quality data, calculating the fair price for a complex care package is impossible.  Harnessing the power of large data sets within a simple application and putting it in the palm of your hand not only saves money, but it makes things as simple for the care worker as my bus journey from Longniddry station.

In our digital research programme, we have been looking at the future for local public services and searching for innovative technologies that can have a real impact on these services.  Our White Paper on Digital and Technology will be launched later this year. Our research has shown us that the future is already here, and that our focus is now shifting to how we can use this technology to deliver a better future.  If you are interested in being a pilot site, please get in touch at enquiries@iese.org.uk.