Technology and Innovation in Care Homes: The SEHTA Review is now available to download
Care homes (both residential and nursing) are an indispensable component of the portfolio of long-term care options available in the UK. However, the rising needs of our elderly population during this period of austerity are creating huge challenges for the industry. The greater use of ICT has for many years been proposed as a way of helping care homes provide high-quality services and improve their sustainability. Over this same period, SEHTA has been bringing care providers and technology suppliers together to help create sustainable ventures from its vantage point of independence from both. Coming from this background, this Review analyses the changing care environment and its impact on care homes and, from the large number of pilot projects and trials, identifies what will make a difference to a care home. The Review describes the process that SEHTA has developed for eliciting requirements and selecting solutions through rigorous analysis of care home needs and thorough analysis of the costs and benefits for implementing technologies to meet those needs. The conclusion is that the evidence is available and that now is the time for care home owners to implement appropriate technology to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
This Review provides an analysis of the way that information and communication technology (ICT) applied to the care home sector has the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of care provision. We define this enhanced care as Technology-Enabled Care (TEC), and the technology and supporting services as Technology-Enabled Care Services (TECS). When we refer to the care home sector in this report, we refer to both residential care homes and nursing homes.
The review has been undertaken at a time when commentators describe health and care provision to be approaching the ‘perfect storm’ of:
- rising costs – 3% increase in National Minimum Wage for adults and 17% for apprentices in 2015; the largest real increase since 20061
- rising demand – the number of people aged over 85 is projected to more than double between 2010 and 2035
- reduced funding – 17% real drop in social spending on the elderly since 2009/102
There is a growing body of research showing that TECS have the potential to reduce health and care costs, increase access and improve patient outcomes. However, there is also evidence that health and care practitioners and care home owners and managers have not embraced and benefitted from ICT in the way that many other sectors have, such as banking.