How technology can improve home-based care
Dementia Digitisation and artificial intelligence can improve home-based care, prevent health problems and save money, explains Dr Ben Maruthappu.
Digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) can improve the quality of life for people receiving care at home – including those with dementia – and this 'care of the future' is becoming available now.
The digitisation of care services can bring immediate benefits for people who receive care, their loved ones, carers and healthcare professionals. It can also save money, as home-based care can be up to four times cheaper than a care home.
The benefits of digitisation
"Digital technology allows for more personalised care: matching patients and carers."
For clients, digitisation brings benefits even before their care is delivered. It allows for a more personal experience, as care providers can digitally match clients and care workers according to the type of care needed, where and when that care is delivered, and even the preferred language. It is also faster: care can be arranged and carers supplied within the same day.
End-to-end digitisation means care workers can use mobile phones to record details such as what form of care has been provided, which medications have been given and the client's health, for immediate transfer to the care provider's head office. Clients' families can also access the password-protected records to monitor their loved one's condition.
"It is faster: care can be arranged and carers supplied within the same day."
Where clients approve, details can also be shared with their GP and hospital staff, so healthcare providers can get involved in home care more easily and quickly.
Efficiencies and savings delivered by digitisation also allow for better pay for care workers: Cera pays its care workers 50 per cent more than the average.
Artificial intelligence saves suffering and money
"Families can access password-protected records to monitor their loved one's condition."
AI can be used to monitor and improve clients' health. It can be used to predict health deterioration, enabling early preventive action. For instance, when a client alerts a care worker of the first symptoms of a urinary tract infection, this is noted in the digital care record. The AI system analyses existing trends and, if necessary, alerts the client's GP, who can issue a digital prescription for antibiotics to be collected by the care worker.
Patients need not endure symptoms for days before diagnosis and early treatment can avoid hospitalisation, which costs the NHS more money. Cera is currently trialling such a system, and expects to roll it out across its network in 2018.