Perspectives: Where next for technology-enabled care after 2025?

TTA has an open invitation to industry leaders to contribute to our Perspectives non-promotional opinion area. Today, we have a contribution from Adrian Scaife, Global Product Manager at Tunstall Healthcare Group. Can telecare save the UK more than £14bn over the next 10 years, as FarrPoint projected–or is that an underestimate based on the past? Can we do better than this?

Interested contributors should contact Editor Donna. (We like pictures and graphs too)

FarrPoint recently published a report showing how extending telecare services to more people could save the UK more than £14bn over the next decade. While £14bn is no small sum, it is based on the evidence of hindsight and importantly through current models of reactive service provision.

In a LinkedIn post I boldly suggested that this should be an underestimate of the benefits that Technology-Enabled Care, associated with a wider transformation of care, could deliver over the next decade.

With increasing demand for care and support combined with finite resources for provision, the statutory care system is facing a perfect storm. The cracks have been appearing for some time but have become apparent to a much wider audience during the Covid pandemic. To be blunt, the current model of care provision is unsustainable in the medium term. (And many would argue today!)

By moving to more preventative, personalised, joined up and proactive service models, supported by communities as well as statutory services, the benefits are potentially much bigger across the whole care ecosystem. (The care ecosystem includes health care, social care, housing, the third sector and, the largest group of all, informal family carers.)

Source: Social Care Future  

This new vision is being discussed by many people and organisations across the care ecosystem and has been referenced, in whole or part, in a host of reports over the last couple of years. What is most encouraging is the consensus around the direction of travel.

The real challenge is the transformation of services from purely reactive, one size fits all, to a preventative and person-centred approach across housing, social care, health care, and the third sector, supported by families, friends, and communities, while still retaining a reactive safety net.

There are important questions around the how? Enabling and underpinning these new service models will be technology using data, information, and actionable insight. New technology has already created dramatic changes in many other sectors across the UK. There is a huge demand for a new set of tools that can, for example, flag everything is OK today or when an early intervention may be required. These tools will work on an individual personalised basis and all the way up to the population level. Joining up data and using insight provided by analytics will enable new high value timely personalised interventions and provide improved outcomes for all stakeholders. 

The good news is that there are a huge variety of companies already working on these challenges from start-ups to SME’s, larger companies, and even global players. The real challenge will be around people (e.g., new working practices) and processes (e.g., new models of commissioning), and of course, culture. Part of the new story will be about enabling working across all stakeholder groups and indeed recognising families as equal partners.

Finally, this is not a transformation that will take place overnight or even within a year but a journey that will take five or more years before it reaches any type of maturity. The green shoots already exist if you look for them, they may be a little tender and frost sensitive, but they are growing! It reminds me of the early telecare journey in the late 90s and early 00s when many could not see how it would scale to where we are today!

While £14bn from traditional reactive services would be welcome, the real opportunity for improved outcomes for all stakeholders across the care system is much greater and not just in an economic context. Personally, I am enormously excited to be playing a part in enabling those tender shoots to grow, thrive, and become the norm over the next few years.

Further reading:

Extending telecare services to 800,000 more people could save the UK £14.5bn: study

An economic analysis by digital connectivity consultancy FarrPoint found that extending telecare and technology-enabled care services to more people aged 75+ could achieve benefits of  £14.5 billion over the next decade. By country, the savings are £12.3 billion in England, £1.1 billion in Scotland, £717 million in Wales, and £370 million in Northern Ireland.  The benefits are improving social inclusion, wellbeing and community resilience, alleviating bed blocking and hospital admissions which are highly quantifiable costs to the healthcare system.

Currently, 2 million people use telecare services in the UK. Based on current take-up rates of 1 in 5 (aged 75+), if this were 1 in 3, an additional 800,000 people could benefit from access to technology-enabled care across the country (eHealth Scot). Over the next decade, that group will likely grow to 1 million, totaling 3 million of the estimated 7.3 million aged 75+ in 2030 (Office of National Statistics estimate)

FarrPoint’s point of view is that the expansion of telehealth is necessary to alleviate the coming demographic crunch in the social care system to prevent a crisis. Their definition of telecare is a modest one: pendants connected to alarm centers and door, bed, and fall sensors.

Their findings are also linked with the first-ever telecare analysis across Wales for TEC Cymru, the program responsible for supporting the shift to technology-enabled care in Wales, where 67% of councils are moving from analog to digital technology for telecare services to their current 77,000 persons, mostly over 65. FarrPoint article

Caveat: we do hope they account for the downsides of VOIP and power outages cutting all telecom off to the vulnerable, all too common in the rural parts of the UK where they live [TTA 21 Dec 21].

Hat tip to Adrian Scaife, who has moved to the ‘Big T’ as Group Product Manager Housing at Tunstall Healthcare (in a smart move on their part!)

Conference & Tender Alert: Perth & Kinross TEC event, Flintshire (Wales) tender (UK)

Susanne Woodman of BRE, our Eye on Tenders, alerts our Readers to a Scotland TEC conference and a Wales tender.

The Perth & Kinross Technology-Enabled Care Conference will take place on Tuesday 26 Sept at Perth Concert Hall. It’s expected to have an attendance of about 120 people from across the social and health care area. Sponsorship packages are available to about 20 organizations. See details on Public Contracts Scotland. Email TEC@pkc.gov.uk 

In Wales, the Flintshire County Council is seeking a telecare emergency alarm  system with 24-hour telephone support. Flintshire currently operates 70 sheltered housing developments with 2613 units, currently connected to a call handling system provided by Jontek. Tenders are due 4 August. Information on Sell2Wales. Contact dawn.kent@flintshire.gov.uk 

What are the true costs of analogue care?

With current approaches to Scotland’s social services labelled unsustainable, and health care similarly under pressure, this guest article by Tom Morton of Communicare247 argues that the potential for digital technology to address health and care needs should be realised now, rather than waiting for the limitations and costs of existing analogue solutions to become ever more apparent.

Health and care provision across the globe is under pressure to provide the best in care to a growing population, in the most efficient way possible. Different countries are responding in different ways.

In Scotland, rising demand and costs for public services mean that, “by 2020, the country’s 32 councils will have to spend an extra £700m on top of the £3.1bn per year spent now”, Accounts Commission chairman, Douglas Sinclair told BBC Scotland. He also called current approaches “not sustainable”.

Health is also facing significant financial pressures, with Audit Scotland reporting that Scottish NHS boards will have to make unprecedented savings of £492m in the current final year. Some may not be able to achieve financial balance, as all struggle to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.

Health and care providers are looking to address these issues by delivering more person-centred services within the citizen’s home. For many this means wider use of telecare or technology enabled care (TEC) to provide remote monitoring, responsive alarms, and round-the-clock support for these individuals.

Telecare is delivering benefits; one report found that widespread, targeted use of telecare could create potential savings of between £3m to £7.8m for a typical council, equating to 7.4% to 19.4% of the total older peoples’ social care budget. Savings for the NHS have also been identified, with reductions in unnecessary hospital admissions and healthcare appointments.

So with such evidence of impact, it is disconcerting to know that only around one in seven of the over 65s have access to telecare services. Such technology could help address many of the issues affecting health and care provision, but it needs investment if it is to make its contribution.

Current analogue approaches are not fit for purpose
[grow_thumb image=”https://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/1950s-bakelite-md4.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]The UK needs to invest wisely. Currently most telecare systems are reliant on phone landlines – this is called ‘analogue’ telecare. But we need to invest in digital telecare if we want to maintain a society where our senior and vulnerable citizens can be cared for in an acceptable way.

The analogue delivery system is unsustainable due to increasing demands, with often tragic communication failures emerging that could be avoided. Current analogue services already report around 3% of failed call attempts between the home and response services, because they cannot communicate effectively over the new digital telephone network systems. (more…)

TSA Annual Conference 16th & 17th November: reminder (UK)

Logo - TSAWe have been asked to post a reminder for the TSA’s Technology-enabled Care Event of 2015. Taking place on the 16th and 17th November 2015 at the Celtic Manor Hotel, South Wales, this is a ‘must-attend’ annual event in the sector calendar.

This year’s conference is entitled Inspiring Change and Progress. It will carry three main themes throughout the two days:

  • Entrepreneurship: How to think differently to make things happen for you, your business and the sector.
  • Education: Preparing for the future of the sector, what do we need to know?
  • Evolution: What’s next for the future of technology-enabled care?

The conference will feature a host of high profile speakers who will be tasked with giving attendees the ‘need to know’ sector picture, including ministers, sector leaders, innovators, business motivators, technology gurus, and the people who benefit from using technology-enabled care.

The two day programme will be packed with stimulating presentations, challenging debates, and informative parallel sessions that will include masterclasses & interactive workshops.

The complete programme is . A limited number of Early Bird booking rates are now available; .