Digitalisation is as much about culture as it is the technology itself. We’ve been banging that drum for a while. Tech is only valuable when people use it. And changing your work culture is difficult. Unless the circumstances demand it. Here, COVID has forced upon us all an external jolt.
“The New Normal” is a term that’s been circulated a lot recently. What is really?
A Star Wars-like promise of a new tomorrow? A new hope where everything is changed for the better? Or the all hands on deck alarmed state we’ve been experiencing since March?
After all is said and done, we may not return to the way we were doing things before. Too busy, too little time, and too much stress?
If you had asked us some time back, we would have doubted a “New Normal” to arrive overnight. Things changed though. In-person visits, hugs, and relationships limited in the foreseeable future. The New Normal may just as well be nothing fancy. It’s at least the literal fight for lives in the frontline against the virus. Undoubtedly a worse normal than before.
At least in the short-term.
The care sector has been neglected, defunded, and under-prioritised for many years. So, we all agree that change is needed. And we’re already seeing signs of it. Clap For Our Carers is an excellent initiative. As is the Care Badge. But it’s the starting point. The sector needs political emphasis and real funding as a proper addition to claps at 8 pm.
Technology as the unlikely silver bullet
As we’re dealing with the pandemic, technology is more important than ever before. Both to keep connected with our loved ones. And to help keep everyone safe. A tracing app for COVID-19 cases, remote acoustic monitoring or tracking health vitals for care home residents. Like we have released in Sekoia.
All these are no cure by themselves. More a mix of helpful tools. To support staff in situations where analogue is not enough. Ultimately, it boils down to people and processes. As always. Anyone that claims to have a silver bullet is selling snake oil. And the sector doesn’t need any of this right now.
COVID-19 is a catalyst for change
In every sector, people are realising that “the way we’ve always done it” can be improved. The pandemic has shown that working remotely is entirely possible. For some at least. Likewise, we should use COVID as the catalyst for positive change in the sector.
Like Zoom or Teams have opened the door for working from home, so too can other technologies unfold and help care workers and providers.
Communication and flexibility are two cornerstones in technology helping the care sector.
The ways of communicating are under stress. Too little time and too many things to do. The need for transparency and clear communication has never been greater. Technology can help with this. By making sure the right information is available at the right time. Within care planning, letting carers access residents’ care plans at the point of care instead of the back office. It makes care and support safer, improves quality, and makes sure nothing is forgotten. Documentation becomes communication this way.
With COVID, you can’t be bogged down with IT. When changes occur and you need to alter your ways of working, you can’t wait for the printers or the paperwork to be done. Your systems need to follow your practice. Your evidence needs to follow your standards. And your needs as an organisation. In your context of legislation and inspections. Don’t let the system dictate what you do. That time is over.