We asked CEO & co-founder of Nursebuddy, Simo Hännikkälä, what trends we are likely to see in homecare technology in 2024.
1. Increased digital confidence
With the homecare sector digitising pretty rapidly now, I’m expecting to see a much greater digital confidence amongst homecare teams next year. There’s now only 10% of social care organisations in England that are still not digitised in some way. That’s a big step forward from a third of the sector 2-3 years ago.
I also saw recently that two thirds of care organisations have completed the Data Protection and Security Toolkit (DPST). We’ve recently completed the DPST ourselves, and even for a tech company like Nursebuddy, it was a fairly long process to demonstrate our approach to cyber security. So it’s commendable to see really busy homecare organisations making this a priority.
It’s also been great to see Skills for Care making #digitalconfidence its focus for November and December of this year, to try to take the fear out of digital. We’re using digital technology at work all the time in care, often without even realising it. So ‘going digital’ or getting your ‘digital social care record’ in place doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. We’re certainly seeing a much more confident, tech-savvy homecare sector amongst our customers, which is why I’ve picked it as a big theme for next year.
I'm also expecting to see wider use of sensors, wearables, electronic dispensers, video calls etc. next year. But those are all pretty challenging things to put in to use - and to find ways of funding them.
2. Greater standardisation in care technology
With more and more of the homecare sector digitised, I think we’re also going to see a greater standardisation of care technologies from next year onwards.
The introduction of the Assured Solution List (which Nursebuddy will be joining very shortly) is making it easier for homecare organisations to know they’re buying the tools that will set them up for a fully digitised future of care. It also presents a much bigger opportunity for software providers to work with regulators and authorities to develop a more cohesive approach to technology in the homecare sector. We’ve recently been involved in conversations about what the technical solutions for sharing information between homecare, GPs, ambulances, hospitals and other parties might look like. It’s been great to be able to make a contribution at this early stage, and for there to be collaboration on what might work best for the sector.
We’re getting close now to the government’s target of 80% of social care organisations having access to a digital social care record by March 2024 (although that deadline is likely to be extended). So it’s highly likely we’ll see more movement next year towards making care technologies more standardised.
3. Making life better for care workers
A big focus of what we do here at Nursebuddy is to try to make the lives of care workers easier through technology. When we redesigned our carer app earlier this year, it was with the goal of reducing stress, reducing risk and reducing tedious repetition. We really wanted to streamline the process of delivering homecare with the help of a mobile app. Giving carers all the critical information they need to know for a visit and making the recording of care activities smooth and non-disruptive.
For us personally at Nursebuddy, this will be a major trend in 2024. We’re already taking direct feedback on how helpful our app is to care workers while they’re doing their jobs. And early next year we’ll be launching new features to help care managers understand the sentiment and mood of their care team, helping them look out for red flags and early warning signs in order to reduce carer turnover.
But I think this will be a big trend for homecare technology more widely next year too. Recruitment and retention of care workers in the UK is not getting any easier, particularly with recent changes in migration rules. While it’s not the only factor, I think bringing in technology as part of a wider rethink about a care businesses’ processes - how they do things - can help to lighten the load of what can be at times a really challenging job.