social care Technology

Community care aspirations require adoption of tech to succeed

Roeland Pelgrims, Founder and Chief Executive of Nobi

Roeland Pelgrims, Founder and Chief Executive of Nobi explains how tech like Nobi can help  the new government support the health/social care ecosystem.

Against a backdrop of a rapidly ageing demographic, health and social care systems under pressure, political and NHS aspirations to care for more people in the community and an urgent need to make the sectors more attractive as a career option; there has never been a more pressing time to embrace technology as a significant enabler of person-centered care.

Whilst there is no silver bullet, I firmly believe that technology has a huge role to play. In 2024 this is, thankfully, not in dispute but what we are still seeing is resistance to technology or a lack of engagement and willingness to explore the possibilities. And the tech providers are partly to blame.

Without doubt, those of us in the agetech space have a responsibility to ‘do better’. All too often we see agetech which is either ugly (why would anyone want to have ugly tech in their home or living space?), is not intuitive (making it difficult to actually use) or is inefficient/cumbersome for care staff (so isn’t fully adopted).

There is a myth that older people don’t want tech but actually that’s not the case. Older people are very keen to use tech if it keeps them well and out of hospital, so why are we being so slow to adopt it?

A survey undertaken by the independent charity, The Health Foundation, last year found that 78% of people would be happy to monitor their health using technology in preference to it being monitored in a hospital. This figure rose to an impressive 85% for over 65s.

Figures from the same charity show that by 2040, there will be 2.5 million more people living with health conditions which are managed in the community – so there is little time for delay.

The Kings Fund has identified three priorities for the government. These are improving out-of-hospital care, making careers in health and social care more attractive and tackling the biggest risk factors affecting people’s health. We believe that tech can play a role in supporting each of these priorities.

Out of hospital care – tech can support people’s wellbeing so that they stay out of hospital and in their own homes, care home or assisted living facility. This preventative element of tech support has to be high on the agenda for politicians. And tech has a huge role to play in supporting patients when they come out of hospital – virtual wards with remote access to vital signs are a really exciting development.

Making careers more attractive – age tech has a huge role to play here. People sometimes think tech is a replacement for people. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Tech has the ability to give time back to care teams so that they have more time for hands-on care.

Tacking the biggest risk factors – As an example, our Nobi smart lamps are already reducing falls with a proven 84% reduction. On the basis that 45% of falls result in an ambulance call out it’s easy to see how tech’s intervention can support the system.

We are really excited about the next few years, it’s a privilege to be part of the drive to encourage the adoption of technology and see how it will shape community care in the future.

UK care system not sustainable without more effective use of technology. But tech alone won’t transform care. To unlock the benefits, new approaches to care need to be designed with staff and care recipients and implemented.

The Health Foundation’s Tech for Better Care programme is a new funding programme that will support 10 teams from across the UK to develop, test and pilot promising new ideas.

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Kirsty

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