The adoption of new technology by healthcare providers accelerated dramatically in the aftermath of the global pandemic, with some commentators estimating that digital transformation leapt forward by seven years in the space of two.
Innovative health tech emerged at an unprecedented speed and scale, encompassing new innovations in clinical equipment, online GP software and NHS mobile phone apps.
Regrettably the same cannot be said for social care technology. The care industry has lagged far behind the healthcare industry when it comes to the development and uptake of software solutions.
However, the UK care industry is on the cusp of a digital transformation with the emergence of revolutionary new tech solutions.
What challenges are faced by social care providers in terms of digital technology?
We commissioned independent research of over 400 UK care organisations which revealed a range of technology challenges and obstacles faced by care providers, hindering their progress.
1. Reliance on manual processes
According to our research, the vast majority of care providers are still highly dependent on manual processes to run their operations. 74% of our survey respondents said they have had to develop their own manual processes to manage their operations.
This will probably come as no surprise to senior managers working in care organisations, who have traditionally had to rely on spreadsheets or even paper-based systems to run their day-to-day operations.
2. Lack of visibility
Our survey also reveals that many care leaders are struggling to manage their organisations due to insufficient visibility of their business operations. This can be due to a lack of management information generally; independent systems over multiple locations or the result of not having a suitable care management software solution in place.
For example, 57% of CEOs / Managing Directors stated that they had insufficient modern technology with which to run their organisation. This highlights the pressing need for digital solutions to be adopted in the social care industry in the same way that it is within healthcare services.
3. Too many systems and a lack of integration
Our study also reveals the wide use of multiple, disparate systems alongside manual processes, with neither system speaking to each other. This not only presents a problem at company level as it leads to duplicate work, but it also poses practical issues at departmental level when it comes to the delivery of straightforward tasks like recruitment, staff training, rostering and payroll.
More than half of all care business owners in our survey stated that they were unable to see the availability of team members for specific times in the week, making rostering challenging. And two thirds of large care organisations said that coordinating staff training was a complicated process.
Why has social care technology failed to keep up with health technology?
Given the above problems, there is clearly a need for the social care industry to enhance its adoption of digital technology. However, the sector has so far failed to keep pace with the healthcare industry. There are several reasons why technological innovation in social care has not matched the scale seen in the healthcare industry, so let’s examine the principal causes:
1. A constantly changing industry
The world of care and support is rapidly changing, with different models of care emerging and thousands of organisations delivering more than one care type across multiple locations. This presents a host of practical, logistical, and financial challenges which has made a single software solution challenging to design and build.
2. Lack of funding
Clearly the sector has been held back by being under-resourced for several years, in comparison to the increase in funding distributed in healthcare. Over a third of care providers in our survey said they would consider adopting modern technology, but currently have no budget.
3. Lack of integrated technology
Up until now, social care software has tended to be designed to solve a particular issue or address a particular function, such as rostering or payroll. This has led to the emergence of disparate specialised systems, which not only lead to confusion in the market, but also data silos for those organisations which run multiple systems.
This also represents a drain on care businesses with extra administration needed for data input, duplicated entries and an increased risk of human error. What care leaders need is a single source of truth for their organisation.
Introducing Advanced Care Cloud
Advanced Care Cloud is a true, single, integrated cloud-based system which removes labour intensive processes and ensures a smooth journey for both employees and the people you support, improving the experience for those who live and work in care.
Advanced Care Cloud was developed from the ground up as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution and has been designed for all types and sizes of care and support organisations, including residential, domiciliary, and supported living providers.
The essence of Advanced Care Cloud is to provide the vital functions everybody needs in a care and support environment. Live dashboards provide access to the business intelligence and insight that care owners and CEOs need to manage and grow their organisation.
The journey of recruitment, the training, the welcoming of the people you support, assessing and attending to their needs, the oversight and potential growth of your organisation, the list goes on. Advanced Care Cloud allows everyone within your organisation to successfully manage all elements of their role.
There’s no doubt that the 2020s have brought their fair share of challenges, but there have been silver linings. As mentioned earlier, the last three years have witnessed the rapid acceleration of global investment in health tech at a scale no one could have previously imagined. The next stage in the journey is to ensure that there is an equally committed investment and innovation in social care technology.
Advanced Care Cloud is a great example of how software can and will transform the management of UK care organisations of all sizes across a wide range of care settings.
Based on insights gained from our survey, the UK care market as a whole demands more from a care solution. The systems out there currently are not delivering what is needed - balancing time, resources, and energy with providing the care that people deserve.
We have set out to fix that problem by building Advanced Care Cloud - a platform dedicated to focusing on the things that really matter: people.
To learn more about how we can bring you complete care business management, take a look at our Advanced Care Cloud Overview brochure.