Why Aren’t Care Homes Going Digital?
The introduction of GDPR in May last year added a lot of impetus to the need to bring business records online. The trend to move towards digital systems and adopt a multitude of different technologies has not circumvented the care sector. Digital uptake and interest from care providers has certainly spiked – helped in part by the increased focus from CQC. However, there is still a significant section of the market who are maintaining all of their records manually in paper.
CoolCare has been a stalwart of the national care shows for the last decade. We’ve seen trends in tech come and go, we’ve helped many make their first steps to digitisation and we’ve watched the increase in software providers with new solutions enter the market. The increase in footfall to software stands remains high. The role of tech is a lead theme across most conference talks. It’s hard to avoid it!
Whereas in years gone by, those who came to our stand had a clear objective in digitisation, we are seeing an increase in care home owners and providers who want to go digital but are unsure what that means for their organisation; why it will help; and whether or not they even really want to do it.
Spoilt for Choice
So yes, interest is increasing and some providers have a very clear vision of how they want to plan their tech infrastructure and how they will implement it. But be comforted, if you are still unsure about digitisation for your company, you are not alone. Plenty of providers get over-faced and end up talking themselves out of all the solutions put their way – there are just too many options and too many different areas of your business to consider.
Fear of the Unknown
The nervousness of making the wrong choice is causing many to stick with the status quo. It feels safe. Staff are used to it. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? There are a lot very good reasons and most of them don’t require anything complicated to achieve these benefits.
Firstly, GDPR. Managing data and access to it is just easier with digital records. Think of the piles of boxes of archiving vs. a few clicks online. Secondly, it saves time and money. Through its digital transformation programme between 2012 and 2016, the Government saved £3.56bn from effective digitisation. The gains from this are increasing as productivity improves. Yes, it’s a big example, but let’s face it, if the Government and civil servants can cope with the change, anyone can!
The hardest bit is taking the first step. Our recommendation is to jump-in. Take an easy bit of your business and digitise that first – for example, your staff or resident records. Then build up to more sophisticated processes as and when your team get used to it. That way it will be a gentle journey, with benefits being felt immediately. By doing so, you’ll avoid the clouding of the complex changing of ways of working by just getting your staff records or resident records online first.
Your team are then going to be more in favour of other processes following suit as, like you, it will be in their benefit to do everything in one place. If you try to introduce a raft of big changes and it will seem too daunting, difficult and imposed. Let them get comfortable and crave the wider digitisation themselves.