How Data is Transforming Social Care: The Roundtable

The UK is embracing a new era of data-driven social care reform. Digitisation and datafication are enabling enhanced visibility, unlocking a new paradigm of proactive, person-centred care. How is data enabling this transformation, what are the stumbling blocks and what strategies are necessary to create a new digital roadmap that leads to better outcomes?

Stuart Barclay

Stuart Barclay, UK sales director of fall detection and remote monitoring supplier Vayyar Care, recently chaired a live roundtable discussion with key players in the social care sector to explore the power and potential of technology-enabled care.

Four of the field’s leading providers and thought leaders explored the key factors driving change in social care. The conversation brought together Alyson Scurfield, CEO at TSA, Paul Berney, CMO at Anthropos, Claire Aldridge, Strategic Contract Manager at Millbrook Healthcare Group and Tim Barclay, CEO at Appello to share their visions for the future and how they are leveraging data to truly transform care.

Stuart Barclay:
Thank you all for being here. Alyson, can you tell us about the need, demand, and market readiness for data-driven social care and digital transformation?

Alyson Scurfield

Alyson Scurfield, TSA CEO:
First, I’d like to thank Vayyar Care for bringing us together for this important discussion. I’m delighted to be here.

As part of the advisory body for technology-enabled care in the UK, I’m passionate about the power of data to transform care, enhance lives and deliver better outcomes for people and communities. Using data to provide better care is at the heart of what we do at TSA. We’ve been talking about this since early 2019, pre-COVID, and identified three cornerstones – data, people, and partnerships – as the key drivers of transformation to enable true preventative care. We’ve had a bird’s eye view of the process of change that’s impacting services and communities across the UK.

We learned that we’re data-rich but intelligence-poor. We need to give people relevant data insights that they can use to make more informed decisions and carry out better care planning, not only for family members and frontline workers, but also to allow care recipients themselves to play an active role in managing their own self-care.

Technology is delivering better outcomes for people. It’s the glue of transformation and we’re starting to prove it.
Data can drive better outcomes, enabling people to live longer independently in the place of their choosing. The scene is set for true health and social care reform.

Let’s talk about the journey from analogue to digital. How are reactive legacy solutions and devices falling short when it comes to falls management?

We recently conducted a survey of social care providers that identified falls management as the primary drain on resources. 69% of respondents said that falls are the most common reason for responder visits. But more than a quarter of those callouts turn out to be false alarms, putting a huge strain on staff.

A big part of the problem is that the vast majority of fall detection solutions on the market aren’t practical. Take cameras, for example. Most care users do not feel comfortable with video cameras invading their privacy at home.

Claire Aldridge, Strategic Contract Manager, Millbrook Healthcare Group:
In the past, caregivers had to deal with so many false alarms, especially when it comes to fall detection. Reactive legacy solutions like buttons and cords are useful only if they’re within reach and the resident is conscious, mats are often unreliable and break frequently, and wearables have to be charged, while the care user must remember to put them on.

At Millbrook we’ve recognised that historically, the sector hasn’t been using data as smartly as we could, and that’s something we’re keen to address. That’s why we’re partnering with companies like Vayyar and Anthropos, who share our vision, so that we can start leveraging data to get the best outcomes for our service users and help them feel secure about using the technology.

We’ve adopted a digital-first approach, meaning that we’re phasing out all analogue devices. Our goal is to start leveraging data to get the best outcomes for our service users.

We want to capture the full benefits of technology to overcome the problem of false alarms and use it to predict and prevent crises.

It’s an exciting time right now and there’s plenty of new tech coming on board. We want to be sure that Millbrook is at the forefront of change and innovation in the sector.

False alarms have made people weary – and wary – of technology that wastes valuable time and resources. With all new technologies, we need to give people confidence that they meet rigorous standards and have fully proven themselves.

Tim Barclay, Appello CEO:
The transition from analogue to digital has been going on for the past seven years. One of the good that the TSA and the industry’s momentum have helped us to understand is that this isn’t just about replacing a device that signals analogue with a device that signals digital. It’s an opportunity for a step change to business models, service models, and the outcomes you deliver because there is so much more power and capability in a digital environment. We have more digitally connected customers than anyone out there and proven solutions to choose from. We’ve put digital infrastructure into more than 25,000 apartments and scores of case studies of people who were considering the journey and now have accessed proven innovative solutions.

We’ve gone out of our way to make ensure that we are as interoperable as possible. We have transition models, both commercial and technical, to help the transition from analogue to digital. We’re not just moving from one box to another – that would be missing the point. The transition to digital can deliver services in a more effective, personalised, and meaningful way for the end user, and that doesn’t mean at a higher cost. You can deliver better services at a lower cost through more intelligent use of the digital capabilities that technology-enabled care has to offer.

Our survey also revealed that 90% of service providers acknowledge that frontline staff are spending too much time on administrative tasks. More data should really mean less paperwork for staff. What’s more, 88% of providers agree that more data about how long users spend at home and their activity would help deliver more personalised care.

And that leads to our next topic: outcomes. How can we use data smartly to reduce the burden on overworked caregivers and ensure better care?

It’s worth contextualizing the word data. It’s not reams of information that need to be analysed. It’s data delivered simply and sensibly. Data is machine-driven pieces of insight that can be easily shared in a digital form.

We must be able to deliver single nuggets of information that care providers can act on.

Simple messages like, “I’m OK”, clearly delivered on a dashboard, can make an enormous difference to the productivity of frontline staff.

Paul Berney, CMO at Anthropos:
It’s the job of the connected care platforms, like Anthropos and others, to process, manage and analyse the data. Ultimately, care providers are only interested in the intelligence that will allow them to make better-informed care decisions.

They’re only interested in the end product – the insights. That’s our job and we do it best when we know the desired care outcomes. Then we know what insights we need to identify. We take the data and divide it into four basic categories:
environment, daily routine and behaviour patterns, physiological wellbeing, and safety and security. Then we take all that data and turn it into intelligence. But we can only do that when we know what the goals are, what insights we need to provide and what actions are required. When you have a platform can reveal behavioural changes, you can step in and take preventative action. Then you can make a real difference to someone’s life, no matter stage of the care journey they’re at.

You touched there on the importance of the joined-up care journey. Ultimately, it’s collaboration that enables the delivery of person-centred, predictive care. According to our survey, almost 80% of service providers agreed that sharing behavioural data is critical to unlocking personalised outcomes. We need to change the norm so that we can start working together cohesively as suppliers to support service providers in collaboration with TSA. But let’s get more specific.
What insights have been unlocked by the behavioural data you gather and how do you share them with key stakeholders?

We’re good at integration and that’s because we understand the importance of working together. I’ll give you an example.

We got an alert that showed that a resident hadn’t started her morning routine within half hour of her regular pattern, and then the data revealed she had been up several times to go to the bathroom. This is a person with long history of UTIs, so the platform could identify this wasn’t the norm for her and sent an alert. It’s then up to the care provider to decide if it’s necessary to take action or just to keep an eye on them.

You’re absolutely right. Data sharing is the key to cohesive, meaningful and fruitful partnerships between technology suppliers, platform providers and frontline caregivers. Sharing behavioural data that reveals mobility, physical and mental health, and potential medical conditions is critical to unlocking personalised care and optimising outcomes. That applies both to overall care management and to the risk factors of falls.

Exactly, and that’s why our customers want Vayyar Care. Managing falls more effectively through better communication is at the top of our priority list when it comes to care management.

Passive falls monitoring is so important because we all understand the drawbacks of wearables.

We want to give people confidence that they’re buying into a system that’s gone through exhaustive evaluation and testing, because if you’re going to make a care decision based on data, you need complete confidence in the quality of that intelligence.

Achieving the best results through focused insights and intelligent data sharing is all about partnering with the right people. Collaboration is paramount in terms of providing better outcomes. We want to help people feel secure about using technology as a reliable resource and that’s a team effort. We’re partnering with leading tech and platform providers like Vayyar Care and Anthropos, who share our vision, and want start to using smart tech much more wisely. We need to guarantee that our partners deliver the best quality, adhere to the highest safety standards and like us, are committed to putting the service user at the heart of everything they do. Above all, we’re committed to the quality standards framework which includes ethics and continuous quality of care.

Come visit the TSA website. We’ll put you in touch with organisations that have loads of case studies to show how we’re making this possible. We also have a list of certified members that we can guarantee are delivering this partnership approach and are delivering quality service.

Well, that brings us to the end of our roundtable on how data is transforming social care. I’d like to thank you all for being here and sharing your insights and experience. As the social care sector expands, it’s clear that local authorities across the UK need to embrace new sensor technologies, leading-edge platforms and, above all, fresh best practices if they’re going to continue to put people at the heart of care.

If you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised in this roundtable or connect with any of the contributors, please email Stuart Barclay directly:

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