Digital Technology: The Solution for Unmet Care Needs in the UK
In recent years, the UK has experienced a rise in the number of people requiring care services, yet there still needs to be a considerable gap between the level of care that people require and the care they receive. This gap has led to what is referred to as “unmet care needs,” a significant issue that needs to be addressed urgently.
Unmet care needs refer to situations where individuals have care needs not being met by existing care services or support systems. This can include situations where individuals cannot access appropriate care services, or the available services do not meet their needs. Unmet care needs can result in adverse health outcomes and can progress to larger, more complex care packages being needed.
According to a survey conducted by Age UK, nearly 1.4 million older people in the UK have unmet care needs. This number is staggering and highlights the urgent need for a solution. Fortunately, digital technology is rapidly evolving, and it has the potential to revolutionise the care sector.
Remote Care as a Promising Solution
One of the most promising care service delivery mechanisms is remote care, which uses technology to deliver care to individuals from a distance. Remote care, in combination with in-person care, as part of a hybrid care model, has several advantages, including providing care to people who live in rural areas or are unable to leave their homes. Additionally, remote care can be more cost-effective than traditional care models, which can help reduce the burden on the already-stretched care system whilst improving access to care for self-funders.
Remote care involves using assistive technology to provide care remotely, including virtual consultations. Remote care requires a culture change in the way in which care can be delivered but once integrated can improve access to care services, reduce the need for hospital visits, and improve patient health outcomes.
Personalised Care Can Improve Health Outcomes
One of the significant advantages of digital care solutions is the potential to provide personalised patient care. Digital care solutions can collect patient health data and use this information to provide tailored care plans that meet their specific needs. This personalised approach can lead to better health outcomes and improve patient satisfaction.
As stated by Lord Prior, Chairman of NHS England,
“the use of digital technology in healthcare is a key enabler for improving the quality and safety of patient care while reducing costs.”
He also highlighted that the “potential to revolutionise health care is enormous, and the UK must embrace this opportunity.”
Shropshire Council Ushers a New Era of Care
Following a successful deployment in supported living for those with Learning Disabilities, Shropshire Council has extended their partnership with Service Robotics Ltd to deliver remote care to enable people to get home and release some care capacity. Shropshire Council’s tech-first approach ensures that care and support delivery includes assistive technology wherever possible and is embedded into practice when considering an individual’s care and support needs. Shropshire Council will maximise features such as medication prompting, wellbeing and daily living task reminders, mood check-ins and virtual care support via Genie video-calling.
Remote care is a promising solution that can help address the issue of unmet care needs. With the proper digital infrastructure and investment, we can ensure that all individuals in the UK have access to the care services they need. We are at a turning point, and by embracing digital technology, we can create a more accessible, efficient, and patient-centred care sector.
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