Opinion Technology

Predictive care planning: The journey has begun

Tobias Hoher and Morten Mathiesen, Sekoia Co-Founders

A lot has happened in social care during the pandemic. Tech in social care has been adopted at a rapid pace. And the adoption will only speed up. We all saw nothing less than a massive transition into new technologies. From video communication and messaging to social, mHealth or eHealth apps. Most of these downloaded straight from the app stores. Plug and play. Immediate answers to lockdown and isolation. All on a needs-driven basis. And we have to credit the providers and people working in their services, for what they have achieved in this last year. It hasn’t been easy but they’ve made it work.

The demographic and political framing – both pre and post-pandemic – make it harder than ever before to operate within the current care and funding model. Difficult to keep occupancy rates up. Difficult to stay compliant. Difficult to attract and keep qualified, or even experienced staff. To name a few. What used to be a hospital ward is now a nursing home wing. Complexity in a care service has risen. Leading to the single most important innovation to come in social care.

Prediction.

This will change how we manage and deliver care in the UK.

During last year, we set out to test a new generation of care planning. Together with Birtley House Nursing Home, we are proactively monitoring residents’ data patterns. With the care recordings already made, the data sits safe but mostly unused in the background of any system. Waiting for the next inspection. But it could also be used for understanding and developing care practices.

That’s the core of our idea. Rehabilitative in its essence. And much more cost-effective. Astronomic amounts of time are put into registering and recording care throughout the sector.

A typical nursing home roughly registers 50 data points per resident per day. Over a year this surmounts to 18,250 (!) important pieces of information about a resident’s care needs, treatment and subsequently any changes. All structured data. This exercise can be done for each resident in a home or across a group of homes. The amount of data exceeds the capacity of the human mind and calls for a new approach.

Predictive care planning.

Artificial intelligence is not reserved for robot companions in social care. You can use it for each individual’s data pattern. It makes a whole new level of oversight and insight available to care professionals. Both frontline and back-office staff. Sekoia will help monitor and notify changes to any individual’s data pattern. Guiding care professionals’ attention to changes before they could ever have been noticed or picked up in current procedures. As a type of early warning automated by AI. Predicting things before they happen. So instead of responding to changes, you can potentially prevent them from happening in the first place.

Imagine receiving notice that certain residents’ quality of life is in decline. Or various health conditions are deteriorating. All based on objective data. Simply there to complement the expertise of the care professionals.

This is happening right now live in Surrey. Not yet as a final product, but as a pilot. The goal? To show how technology can help prevent falls, untoward behaviour, infections and a multitude of other resource-consuming issues.

Predictive care planning will change how we manage and deliver care in the UK. The journey has begun.

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