TECH TALK: Our digital picture needs to be clearer

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Published in Care Home Professional

Jonathan Papworth, co-founder and director of Person Centred Software, says the current spotlight on the social care sector has highlighted the need for a clearer digital picture from UK care homes

We are still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but there are already things we can learn from it. At a time when we have seen the social care sector take centre stage alongside the NHS, it has starkly highlighted data gaps, and they are still there.

The fundamental lack of information available is contributing to the stress and insecurity many in the care sector have felt. It is incredibly difficult to react to an unknown, unseen enemy – but better visibility of the problem will help.

The government’s test and trace initiative has been subject to much criticism with testing targets missed, and trace not expected to be in place across England for some time to come. It’s a disappointing example of a major knowledge gap that’s crucial for our sector – and not yet being filled.

But there is technology available to care providers who want to take their own steps to start closing the critical knowledge gap within their care homes. I’ve watched with interest the development of some of these, and here are three that have stood out:

Feebris (www.feebris.com) is a monitoring tool that provides early diagnosis for vulnerable people.

Vtuls (www.vtuls.com) is another example of a similar concept – allowing caregivers to monitor vital signs remotely and respond rapidly.

Ally Labs (www.allycares.com) is designed to remove unnecessary night time visits for residents – but has also been able to detect a potential COVID-19 infection via cough detection.

All of these use artificial intelligence to detect symptoms that can identify people who have become infected with coronavirus.

We have also been working on new features ourselves, including our new Mobile Care Monitoring Contact Tracing feature, to help care homes stay safe. Together, we can support care homes to build a digital picture from within the sector.

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