I was excited to read an article in today's Daily Telegraph about a new Uber-style app to book carers 'on demand'. Back in May I argued in a blog entitled ‘In Need of Medicine’ that domiciliary care providers need to invest in technology to enable them to move away from the traditional branch network in order to drive down back office costs, enable care workers to be more fairly rewarded, and enable investors to earn a modest profit.
Looking beyond the hype of the Daily Telegraph’s article, it does seem that the team behind The Golden Era Club are on to something by using technology to streamline business processes and improve the customer experience.
The real question is why have existing care providers been so slow (some might say uberly cautious) to embrace the sort of technology which has been common in other industries for many years. Only now are some of the largest players in the industry issuing their carers with handheld devices to access customer care plans, update carer availability, view rotas and provide proof of delivery.
Carewatch, for example, have only just completed the rollout of a TotalMobile solution to all of their carers (both companies are backed by Lyceum Capital) whilst other care providers are even further behind the curve.
The software itself doesn’t have to be expensive. Access peopleplanner, iCareHealth, CareForIT and CarePlanner all offer cloud based solutions which start from as little as £2.50 - £5.00 per carer per month; whilst QuickPlan offers a bundled solution including an Android smartphone, data and in-group calls for about £12.50 per carer per month.
Some companies have chosen to restrict usage of the handsets to business use only others. Others such as Carewatch, offer their carers unlimited calls, texts and internet access as an employee benefit (which is proving quite attractive to careworkers)..
New Generation of Software
The features of this new generation of software vary by supplier but typically include some or all of the functionality shown in the graphic below.
Access for customers, families and GPs
View and amend planned visits
Review completed visits
Request additional visits
Apply for Jobs
View Pay Slip
Access to Care Plans
Alerts & Messaging
Lone Worker Alarm
Back Office Console
Manage Customers & Carers
Plan, Roster & Monitor Visits
Some of the Software Available
The slide show below shows some of the features available in access peopleplanner, iCareHealth, QuickPlan, CareForIT and CarePlanner.
Caution to the Wind
It is time for the care sector to throw caution to the wind (or at least stop being so uberly cautious) and embrace technology! Good luck.