Mike Williams, Managing Director at Tagtronics – a software company evolving alongside homecare companies to increase quality of care – considers how businesses can prepare for the digital systems shift following Sajid Javid’s new expectations for homecare providers…
The current climate
The pandemic acted as a catalyst for many industries to undertake a digital transformation, with Sajid Javid, the current health and social care secretary, encouraging the 40% of homecare providers still using paper-based records to upgrade as part of their social care responsibilities.
With aspirational targets set for 80% of social care providers to convert to digital records by March 2024, the issue remains: how will this affect those on the homecare frontline, and how can businesses effectively integrate these systems into their existing processes?
The complex shift
Recent research has demonstrated that digital technology can increase efficiency and quality for homecare businesses, in addition to enhancing the overall patient experience and promoting fully integrated care.
Despite this, carers and leadership teams, may be concerned about digital transformation. Due to strained resources and low team retention – with an employee turnover rate double the national average – technology can often be seen as difficult and unpredictable in an industry that can’t afford to make mistakes.
Technology can help to manage these limited resources, but this may not alleviate the concerns of employees who have worked with paper systems for a long time, or who have a ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude.
To guarantee the effectiveness of these systems – and worker peace of mind – it’s critical to ensure that technology isn’t employed as a ‘add on,’ but rather integrated into every aspect of the organisation to give employees complete confidence in the system.
To instil confidence in staff at all levels, you’ll have to ensure that three crucial components are met:
- Leadership and management
When adopting a new digital system, you’ll need a strong leadership team who can communicate the technology’s benefits right away. Users must embrace the change by seeing it as advantageous to the system.
The NHS is putting in place comprehensive digital leadership courses to boost experience and confidence in technology, as well as to reduce any leaders’ fear of a digital shift.
- User engagement
To overcome challenges with efficiency and team retention, you must ensure that all your employees are engaged from the beginning of your transition to digital technology.
To get your entire team on board, you’ll need to make sure everyone is utilising the system successfully, which may include training sessions for your employees before you fully implement your system.
- Governing information
One of the concerns that several homecare businesses have is handling and preserving patient data.
Your software solution should include secure and supervised servers, but it’s critical to inform workers and patients about this prior to implementing any new systems.
Case Study: Clarendon Homecare
Clarendon Homecare is a rapidly expanding domiciliary care firm, which has been providing services to the elderly in Surrey and West London since 1994.
Clarendon Homecare realised that its paper-based approach of handwritten daily notes to collect and review wasn’t enough to assure consistent care among service customers as the company grew.
“This took up a huge amount of time, and any problems identified could be up to a month out of date,” Clarendon Homecare general manager, Dave Vincent, explains.
A digital solution
“When started using Tagtronics, we just used it for work rotas and care planning but continued to use paper for daily care notes and MAR sheets. Recently we’ve moved even more of our system online,” says Dave.
“A digital system gives us the ability to respond in shorter timeframes – instead of being a month behind, you see things in real-time.
“It’s allowed our senior carers to focus on other activities, such as supervising carers, responding to service user reviews and improving overall quality of care.”
“We’d recommend Tagtronics to other homecare businesses. The suggestions we’ve made have been taken on by the team and they’re always looking to improve our experience,” concludes Dave.