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'Care workers could also benefit from real time information'

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Standing in the bus shelter opposite Longniddry station, on my way to East Lothian Council, it was pretty clear that real-time information is now an expected part of our lives.

A quick look at the app on my phone and I can see where the bus is on the map and the number of minutes that will pass by until it arrives.

But whilst quality information services are an expected part of our lives, we often put up with far less. And with commissioners struggling to fund care and providers feeling an ever-increasing burden of care costs, it can be hard to see how such developments might be relevant.

Yet the use of accurate real-time information holds huge possibilities. We have known for some time that care workers are suffering under the burden of accessing, using and recording information. What is less clear is the quality of that information. By quality, I mean how the information is used to improve the lives of customers.

One simple app for children showed they were more willing to share critical information that could help with their safety through such channels. The report created by the app, with its critical information, can be shared with a worker prior to meeting – making the engagement much more valuable.

The use of analytics linked to data gathered by sensors – body worn and around the home – lets us identify connections to inform what is monitored and tune what we monitor to the individual.

For example, we can detect that someone’s gait is changing before they fall rather than giving them an alarm to use once they have fallen. This approach increases independence and can cut the cost of support. Without access to quality data, calculating the fair price for a complex care package is impossible.

Harnessing the power of large data sets within a simple application in the palm of your hand saves money and makes things as simple for the care worker as my bus journey from Longniddry station. In our digital research programme we have been looking at the future for local public services and for innovative technologies that can have a real impact on local public services.

The resulting white paper on digital and technology will be launched later this year.

Our research has already shown us that the future is here, and our focus is shifting to how we can use this technology to deliver a better future. If you are interested in being a pilot site, please get in touch.

Andrew Larner, chief executive, iESE

Column sponsored and supplied by iESE

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