Using technology to replace manual processes is already a popular option for organisations wishing to increase efficiencies and reduce time and costs. Added to that, the Personalisation agenda aims to give control to service users themselves. So, what about taking this one step further by using technology to negate manual processes and pass control down to your staff and clients themselves?
Organisations operating in the care industry can often spend vast amounts of time producing staff worksheets and communicating schedules and changes to their staff. Not only does this tie up resources which could be put to better use, but if a staff member then wants to change their schedule, the whole process needs to be repeated. This is disruptive to the office staff and to the field carer who is trying to carry out a job.
By streamlining the communications process involved in staff worksheets and roster changes, care providers can begin to see savings in time and costs as well as being able to give more control to their staff members.
Client control is also paramount in today’s increasingly competitive social care market. Personalisation aims to pass as much control to the service user as possible, The Guardian recently described the changes in an article by Neil Barr (www.guardian.co.uk 17th March 2011): “It will be vital for organisations to adapt to these shifting conditions. Future operations will be dependant on being able to provide easily accessible information for all client groups, regardless of age or disability. The internet can help to educate and support users. The personalisation agenda is best supported if agencies are encouraged to help people make informed decisions from easily viewable information.”
The web based workforce management system, webroster.net, has a unique facility that allows both staff and clients to log into an online portal and view their own individual schedules. Staff members can even add availability to their roster in order to be considered for additional hours if desired as well as print their up-to-date roster and view their payroll.
Clients also have the option to view their care schedules, previous invoices and even see a photo of the carer for each booking so they know who to expect.
These portals are a realistic and affordable example of how the internet and technology can help organisations to bypass traditional communications processes by pushing control through the organisation and maximising the use of all available resources.
The internet is a strong communications tool that has the potential to take Personalisation forward; creating new connections and giving full control to the Service User. Making use of technology for day to day communications is both time saving and reliable; by removing a manual process, organisations can reduce the risk of manual errors. Meanwhile they save time as all information is stored securely online, ready for field and office based staff to access whenever and wherever they need.