By Frank Collins, Director, Hands-On Healthcare, Leeds.
Community based healthcare is as old as the neighbourhoods it serves. Traditionally, it was the role of nuclear families to take care of older relatives in their senior years. The rise in numbers of older people in the population, the lengthening of good health and life expectancy, and the fragmentation of traditional family make up are all prime factors in the need for higher grade, more responsive and cost-effective resources in community healthcare.
Whilst community care has traditionally relied upon human skills, and still does, it’s clear that technology is playing a transformational role in the care sector. The benefits of technology are as important to the care industry as any other market. Innovations in technology are positively impacting the quality of care, as well as optimising management costs in this industry.
At the sharp end, one immediate example of exponential technological development is its role in recruitment and selection. As a specialist recruiter in the healthcare sector, we have participated in a technical sea change.
Intuitive online candidate portals and self-serve applications, together with centralised profile details and powerful database technology are just some of the key drivers of technology efficiencies in the healthcare recruitment process.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to drive and manage recruitment sifting. This offers commercial benefits in terms of time and effort spent, and the speed of the end-to-end recruitment process, as well as improving the recruitment experience for candidates.
In a sector where there are often more than 50 applicants for each vacancy, it’s important that candidates can be filtered quickly, and shortlisted using smart online tools. AI also demonstrates a more ethical approach, focusing on the material details of an application and eliminating the bias which can occur when people are sifting CVs.
Beyond recruitment and onboarding, technology is playing an increasingly important role in community care. In many ways it’s an invisible resource which complements the people providing face to face care.
Remote monitoring technology: care resources are deployed effectively.
We are working increasingly with care providers who are harnessing the benefits of remote monitoring. Using client friendly personal tech products, resembling a smart phone or tablet, remote monitoring systems enable health data to be delivered direct to clinicians from the clients’ home, reducing the number of clinic visits or home calls by healthcare colleagues.
Continuous streams of client data can provide much clearer assessments of medical wellbeing, enabling early intervention and the fine tuning of medical and care packages. Remote monitoring also helps to ensure that personal care resources are deployed effectively and economically.
Our care provider colleagues are also implementing significant developments in assistive technology, designed to increase or maintain the functional capabilities of people with disabilities.
These are the resources on which clients rely when their carers are not present to provide personal support. Assistive technology includes low vision devices and alternative communication systems, such as screen reading software and phones with large tactile buttons.
Assistive technology helps care clients to live independent and dignified lives, and this technology also has resource benefits. It frees carers to focus on other support tasks which require the human touch, such as help with bathing, support with medication, or simply a personal chat.
What’s clear is that the developments in care technology are quickly becoming critical in offering modern and advanced care to residents or service users.
So, the care industry is adapting rapidly to the need for digital transformation. In a sector facing continuing challenges for value and productivity, there is the impetus for all players, including recruitment agencies and care providers to embrace and respond to the opportunities provided by technology.