5 steps to make the most of technology in your home care business
The home care business is changing fast, with technologies appearing on the horizon all the time offering incredible promise. It’s truly exciting, but there are a whole host of tools at your disposal right now if used correctly. We look at five ways to make the most of the technology at your fingertips right now.
Technology always promises to “revolutionise” our lives and the health and social care sector is no exception. Of course, some of those promises will be realised, but who can say when that will be and there are plenty of challenges for us to overcome in the meantime.
So here are five ways home care businesses can make the most of the tech available to them now.
Don’t be held hostage to tech
This might seem a strange tip to start with in an article about “making the most of tech” but hear us out. Technology should be an enabler – it should allow us to do what we currently do, but better; it should enhance our existing human skillset; and it should empower us to achieve feats we were previously unable to.
What technology certainly shouldn’t do is consume our every waking moment or inhibit our natural desire for human interaction. After all, we work in a people-centric industry. We have businesses to run, but ultimately, we are caring for our fellow human beings so we must be sure technology does not get in the way of that.
So, what does this mean for the care provider? Implementing new technology or processes should reduce the amount of time we spend on computers, phones, apps or spreadsheets, so we can spend more time with patients and improving care provision.
These products reduce the amount of time care providers need to spend tediously building staff rotas and help make the schedules of care professionals more efficient and much more. In short, the technology has a direct benefit on staff productivity and patient wellbeing.
Let tech do what it does best
There’s no shame in it. In fact, it’s wise to accept when technology can do something better than you.
Allowing technology to flourish in the tasks it excels in frees you up to do more interesting and proactive work. Technology and software are very good at repetitive tasks or jobs that are formulaic in nature. While artificial intelligence is beginning to take on more complex decision-making tasks, humans still reign when it comes to devising creative solutions to complex problems or making judgements on the fly. In short, use technology in cases where it will perform better than a human and vice versa. You’ll have a more efficient business and a team carrying out more enjoyable work as a result.
See the big picture… live
Imagine being able to see where all care professionals are at any one time, whether they are running late because of traffic or if an appointment has over-run, adjust appointments in real-time and work on documents with colleagues regardless of your locations.
These very abilities are available to you now. Each one is powerful on its own, and you can take a more in-depth look here, but the oft-overlooked ‘power’ is having all these tools (and data) at your disposal together in one place.
And, let’s face it, compiling information and data separately is a long a tedious task – you just want the information neatly presented to you so can you make informed decisions. This is a perfect example of technology enabling humans to do what we do best.
Our patients and our care professionals operate in real time, so your software should do the same. GPS means you can see where your care professionals are; live traffic updates can help you predict which appointments will be affected; instant updates from care professionals let you know if an appointment is complete or if an issue has arised.
There is so much more available to care providers today, but the point is you are able to make more effective decisions on the fly and plan the rest of the day or week based on real, on-the-ground information.
Use your data to inform decisions
Of course, you could choose to ignore all that useful information at your fingertips and continue to work as you always have done.
But that would be ridiculous wouldn’t it? We don’t seriously think you would willingly ignore the data available to you, but it’s easy to do the bare minimum with it.
Whether you have the latest workforce management system or not, you should have access to useful information and data about your care provision business. This can range from the average appointment duration; average travel time; number of locums used; number and location of urgent appointment or emergencies; and much more.
You should be using this data to make informed improvements to how your care provision business operates. Perhaps you are using more locums than you need to, or maybe the data will help you decide if you require a new employee. Are there new or different travel routes the team could be using? You won’t know unless you can see data on current travel time and delays, for example.
Be mobile and have your head in the cloud
It’s no good having all this data, clever scheduling and collaborative working tools if it’s inaccessible the moment you step out of the office.
Mobile phones and cloud-computing technology mean you can take your office with you. Remembering not to overburden your team with unnecessary admin tasks is important, but there is a plethora of mobile apps that can help care professionals stay on track without distracting them from the patient care task at hand.
SMS alerts for new appointments or appointment changes, instant communication between staff, as well as time-tracking, are all excellent ways to keep care provision efficient and reduce the admin burden on professionals in the field.
Cloud computing is crucial to the smooth interaction between field staff and those in the office. You need to be able to quickly communicate and update the same documents and have access to the same information.
Our mobile working apps and modules, such as our Bee App, have proven to be a real game-changer for many care professionals.