For telecare stakeholders, the 2025 analogue to digital deadline is only the beginning of the challenge. The Department of Health and Social Care report that 1.3m people currently use telecare services to live independently at home. Local authorities are already straining under this demand and as the UK population ages and become less healthy, pressure is set to increase.
Therefore, local authorities need to future-proof technology enabled care (TEC) services so they can meet the needs of service users in 2025 and beyond. To qualify as future-proofed, the TEC service needs to be preventative and adaptable by design to help the care sector to:
- Identify behavioural, health or environmental changes and respond before they deteriorate into expensive, time-consuming emergencies or an increasing population with high care needs.
- Respond to the unpredictable, growing and ever-changing care requirements of the future.
To achieve both criteria, a future-proof TEC service needs to:
- Implement open architecture technology to be flexible and adaptable to change.
- Deliver personalised care that meets the needs of the individual.
- Develop an information-led culture and operating model which enables proactive and preventative care.
Step one: Implement open architecture technology to be flexible and adaptable to change.
The foundation of a TEC service is the technology that the service is reliant upon. Those responsible for selecting technology need to choose to invest in open or closed technology infrastructure.
To date, the TEC market has been primarily serviced by closed infrastructure technology. A closed infrastructure limits the amount or type of information that can be provided or received. As a result, closed infrastructure technology is often inflexible so it cannot adapt to the changing needs of service users. Additionally, as this technology is closed it cannot keep pace with, or work with, innovative and new technology coming to the market.
On the other hand, open infrastructure technology allows flexibility and adaptability. A TEC service that uses technology with an open infrastructure has the freedom to decide which crucial information is needed to best care for service users. Moreover, open infrastructure technology allows TEC services to update their service offering as new, better, cheaper and smarter technology enters the market.
At its core, 2iC-Care is and always will be an open architecture technology solution which is designed to meet scaling and changing needs to provide access to all key health information. With 2iC-Care, TEC services are future-proofed, proactive and preventative.
Step two: Deliver personalised care.
The north star for TEC services is to deliver truly proactive and preventative care. However, a TEC services’ ability to deliver personalised care is dependent upon the information it can receive about the service user. Therefore, to reach proactive and preventative care, we have to start with personalised care.
Open infrastructure technology, like 2iC-Care, provides TEC services, occupational therapists and medical assessors the flexibility to use any device from any manufacturer delivering device freedom. Device freedom mitigates compatibility and budget constraints which interfere with personalising care packages.
With 2iC-Care, a TEC service can decide what health information they need to know to best care for an individual service user. Then, TEC services can work backwards to select the right devices which will provide that information. As 2iC-Care is an open infrastructure technology, these devices can come from any manufacturer enabling the truly personalised care of the future. Along with selecting the most appropriate peripherals, 2iC-care platform then enables configuration of data, device and process interoperability rules to further personalise the solution to the specific needs of the individual, reduce false alarms and identify deviations from normal trends.
Step 3: Develop an information-led culture and operating model which enables accurate, proactive and preventative care.
The 2iC-Care solution provides ARCs and Telecare services with information in an easy-to-use dashboard but having access to ‘always on’ health, environmental and behavioural information is not enough to deliver on the preventative care promise. To future proof a TEC service, TEC stakeholders need to champion an information-led culture and operating model to leverage this information to deliver preventative and proactive care.
Embracing and encouraging this cultural and operational change would enable TEC stakeholders to set up information-led, smart internal procedures to make their service more efficient and confident in decision making.
- The TEC service using a service-users health and environmental information to react quickly and confidently to emergencies.
- The TEC service using information to reduce ambulance call outs to false alarms by better predicting the actual environment or easing communication with the service-user.
- The TEC service using ‘always on’ information to spot trends which indicate a service-user is getting sick before their condition becomes critical, preventing long and expensive hospital stays and personal distress.
When a TEC service is built upon an open infrastructure, that enables personalised care and provides a central view of all key information, it has all the tools to be adaptable to the changing care landscape and to provide preventative and proactive care to help those who need it most.