Care sector must harness technology to improve productivity and profits, report suggests
Published by Angela Mycock for Advanced Computer Software Group in Care and Support and also in Health
New technologies are routinely overlooked by care sector managers who are unclear of how software can contribute to delivering efficiencies and profitable growth. These findings follow a *report commissioned by Advanced Health & Care and partner division, Advanced Business Solutions , which looked at attitudes to IT and the types of software commonly used across the care sector.
The research revealed less than a third of care organisations use IT to deliver service user information to staff, and just 22% are using software that allows staff to submit electronic time sheets. Only half of those interviewed are using IT to monitor staff visits to service users, and just 35% to raise an alert if a visit is missed. Additionally, only 48% of care staff are using software capable of updating individual care records.
Other software solutions, such as payroll and staff rostering solutions, were seen as having a more significant impact on profit and were much more likely to be deployed. Domiciliary care providers were the biggest users of rostering technology – 92% had a complete IT system in place for this purpose - with a further 8% relying on IT ‘in part’ for this function, and 82% of residential care providers had a payroll system in place.
Jim Chase, Managing Director at Advanced Health & Care, said: “The report shows a lack of clarity and understanding in the care sector about how new technologies can boost profits. Many managers are not seeing the benefit of investing in new technology now, for financial and operational gains in the future. The reality is, however, more efficient processes naturally lead to savings.
“An innovative approach to care provision can also be the difference between winning or losing a contract, and at a time when there is fierce competition for every new contract, technology can make an organisation stand out from the crowd,” he added.
The report, produced by Source for Consulting and entitled: Can’t compete on size? Consider technology, also shows that while there are a significant number of organisations using IT in silos, many are still using it only ‘in part’ to solve particular issues, such as managing multiple funding streams (30%), and patient records (22%). This could be down to the perceived cost of new systems, as the research reveals financial constraints as a major barrier to technological investment (58%).
Chase adds: “The figures in the report show that while many care businesses are starting to incorporate improved technology, many are still missing out on the full benefits of efficiency by implementing silo systems. This suggests that managers should be made aware of how beneficial holistic systems can be when used properly.
“While there remains significant opportunity to make much better use of technology across the sector, it is worth remembering that it is not just the pursuit of profit that should drive change, but the need to improve the service user experience, whilst delivering great care,” he added.
Advanced has seen an increase in demand for innovative solutions such as their electronic call monitoring system, iConnect, which is capable of delivering multiple operational benefits via smart mobile phones, from staff rostering to recording carers’ locations and visit times automatically. It is an encouraging indicator that parts of the care sector are realising the benefits of new IT solutions.
*The report: Can’t compete on size? Consider technology, was commissioned by Advanced and conducted by Source for Consulting. To view it survey click here.
About Advanced Health & Care
Advanced Health & Care (Advanced) is a leading provider of IT management systems for adult and children’s community, mental health, hospice, home and residential care services, as well as urgent and unscheduled care and clinical call centres.
Advanced focuses on providing innovative mobile IT applications for community based care, supporting tens of thousands of care workers and clinicians with integrated phone, software and airtime solutions.
Working with partners in the NHS, local government and the private sector, Advanced offers IT solutions in support of safe, efficient care delivery with integrated management information. Advanced’s unique proposition is its range of integrated care solutions offering visibility of information for both the commissioner and care provider.
About Advanced Business Solutions www.advancedcomputersoftware.com/abs
Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced) provides leading integrated business applications and services that enable public, private and third sector organisations to retain control, improve visibility and gain efficiencies whilst continually improving corporate performance. Advanced prides itself on getting close to its customers by understanding their businesses and responding to their evolving needs.
Advanced’s software systems comprise core accounting/financial management, procurement, supply chain management, human resource and payroll systems, integrated with a range of collaborative, document management and business intelligence solutions to extend the value and effectiveness of the finance, human resource and payroll departments.
All solutions can be delivered as a managed or bureau service.
Customers are from both the public and private sectors and include Real life Options, BrendonCare, NHSScotland, Norfolk Constabulary, Princess Alice Hospice, Extra Care Charitable Trust, National Express Group, DFS and RSPB.
Advanced Business Solutions is a division of Advanced Computer Software Group plc, a leading supplier of software and IT services to the health, care and business services sectors.
Angela Mycock, Advanced Computer Software Group
+44(0)1625 856 513
07887 415 232