The role of technology in tackling the current challenges facing the health and care industry

We are working with CGI to improve health and social care throughout west Wales and beyond, and the initial focus of the partnership is on the digitisation of our telecare platform ready for the analogue switch off in 2025.

This will pave the way for a new digital model of health and care which will put patients first, and help to provide smarter, personalised care and support.

But what are the current challenges we are facing within the health and care industry, and how can technology help to overcome them?

What is technology enabled care (TEC)?

There is still a legacy of what technology enabled care, or TEC as we call it, actually is. A lot of people living at home and a lot of clinicians out in the health and social care sector think of TEC as a service that will keep somebody safe at home. They think of smoke detectors or red button pendants that people wear around their neck or wrist to raise the alarm if they fall at home or become unwell, helping to keep people safe and sound in that environment.

But it is so much more than that now, and it’s important for us to make sure that our colleagues in health and social care and our residents fully understand what technology can do. 

Until very recently, TEC has been a very reactive service. It will tell you when something has already happened, and that has its place and is essential for a lot of the services that are out there at the moment.

However, there is much more that we can do now with the technology that is available today. We need to make sure that we are getting that message across.

A lot of organisations use technology, but that is not their core business, it could be a local authority or housing association, and they are still very much reliant on older services and systems. The challenge is getting new technologies to work alongside older technologies. We need to make sure that we are all moving at the same speed towards 2025 and that the services that are currently in place are ready for that switch.

The art of the possible

We are working with CGI to develop a new single service model that will add significant value to the work that health and social care teams carry out. We are developing, the art of the possible, highlighting how digital technology can deliver a truly proactive approach to care rather than this reactive approach that has been there in the past, with the technologies that we’ve got now and the new technologies that are emerging. We are working with our health and social care partners to demonstrate new digital solutions and helping them to understand how TEC can support people in the community.

As we work with TEC equipment companies and companies at the forefront of TEC system development, we must ensure that colleagues in health and social care and organisations across the care sector are involved. It is vital that we fully understand where the gaps are in service provision and that we use technology to integrate the various systems that are in place so that we're getting the data and the outcomes that we need and is really valuable to those teams that are out in the communities.

The analogue switch-off 

There is still a lot of work to do before the end of 2025. There are many organisations that use TEC as part of their service, such as housing associations, but it’s not their main service and they haven’t been able to prioritise the work and the expenditure to put into the systems that they’ve currently got, so that everything’s aligned ready for the digital switch and to allow them to audit the TEC equipment that they have.

As mobile connections across the UK will become even more important by 2025, there is a lot of work that needs to be done by mobile network suppliers to get adequate network coverage across the UK so that the systems work as they should be working. There is a lot of new digital equipment coming on to the market and we need to continue to understand the systems and the services that our customers and the organisations that we work with have, and what they need.
We can then help to fill those gaps. It may mean using equipment in different ways to get the right results and the right information, but we will be able to provide a full wrap-around service for our partners.

Final thoughts

TEC in the traditional sense still has an important role to play, but now we can achieve much more than that. 

We can help our residents to live as normal a life as possible, by creating a single digital model of care which will provide the data we need to prevent a deterioration in health or a crisis from happening, offering a truly proactive service for those that need it.

Find out more about our partnership with CGI.