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14th Mar, 2023

Leonie Goldson
Leonie Goldson
Job Title
National Development Manager

Digital transformation has rejuvenated our care management system, creating opportunities for our teams to reach more people with effective, personalised homecare services.

A year of research

Rewind a couple of years. In the heath and care sector, adaptability and resilience were crucial just to maintain standards. Operationally, we made the decision to digitalise many years ago – but what we didn’t have was a full care management system nor a partner to collaborate with, and this was starting to hold us back from reaching our full potential.

There are many systems across the sector, but one thing was and is very important to us: having a system that suits our service, delivering across multiple specialist areas.

The hunt began: researching, demos, pricing, contracts, cybersecurity, GDPR, IT compatibility… you name it, we evaluated it. As we are not traditional in our set up, it was really important that we had a system that would evolve with us as we adapted and grew – and one with all the core functions in one place: rota management, care planning, assessments, quality assurance, medication management, management information, alerts, staffing absence planning and finance reporting.

Finding the right partner

After deep consideration, we chose to partner with birdie, a healthcare tech platform that equips care providers with all the essential digital tools they need to manage, grow and succeed in delivering outstanding care. Alongside a host of practical resources and support for the care industry, birdie provides a unique single platform solution used by care businesses of all sizes, with care management, rostering, financing and analytics tools.

From implementation to ongoing innovation and system improvements, it’s sometimes a challenge to keep up, so we realised that true collaboration is what best enables continued growth for our organisation. The peace of mind we now have is priceless – the system we’re using empowers staff to fulfil their roles and duties, records are ‘live’ so we keep the service safe, the birdie app and desktop hub is so intuitive. It has given us a boost in our team and our business.

Why is innovative technology important for care?

The whole health and care sector embraces technology. It facilitates more people to care for themselves at home and enables the workforce to support customers/clients in the best possible way, delivering better outcomes. Chiefly, it doesn’t impact on the personal relationships and face-to-face contact that is so important in the care industry, but instead provides valuable insights that create more time for fostering those relationships.  In addition, all the requirements for data collection from the Department of Health and Social Care, and the monitoring needed by local authorities, necessitates a robust, simple way of storing and sharing evidence.

The challenges of embracing technology in care

Without a doubt, there were (and still are) challenges that need to be overcome, as we thread technology through our practice.

To my mind, the first is supporting the workforce to feel the benefit of technology in their everyday roles. Not everyone is comfortable using tech, and even switching from one system to another can cause frustration, as is the case with any and all major organisational shifts. So, to mitigate mobilisation issues, assisted by the birdie customer success team, we’re influencing a positive culture that brings everyone on the journey, and gets them seeing results faster.

The use of digital technology for care and support is widespread, but many providers are still missing out by only focusing on basic technology instead of adopting innovative care solutions. A recent review of the adoption and scalability of digital technology from adult social care on behalf of NHSX found that of all UK care providers:

  • 91% had access to a desktop or PC

  • 86% used video calling software

  • 77% had access to tablets or smartphones

  • 60% used digital care records or care planning software

  • 53% used monitoring equipment or assistive tech

Significantly in this report, 85% of providers said the benefits from support and technology increase better quality of care. Eighty-three per cent said it improved health and well-being outcomes, and 74% said staff were spending more time delivering care. Read the full report here.

Aligning with this, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is also responding well to providers who embrace technology. A spokesman for the CQC stated: “The use of technology in health and care service is growing in importance. Digitally enabled care can offer significant benefits to people who use services and those who run and deliver them.”

What’s next for Reed’s community care specialism?

At Reed, our goals are to continually improve our service and reach more of the people who need us. I believe we can achieve this much faster by utilising the full functionality of the birdie technology. This has to happen by building confidence with our workforce first. We will achieve this through working closely with the birdie team and collaborating with their homecare partners to build personalised home health tech solutions.

With so many insightful resources available, it’s very difficult to find a reason not to invest in a system like birdie. This type of support can actively help your business grow as opposed to the limited benefits of a temporary quick fix.

At the end of last year, I asked our care team if using birdie had made a positive impact on service delivery, compliance and care management, and if the team felt more confident about taking on new services. The feedback was scored at an impressive four out of five – and this is in the very first year following implementation. Our registered managers believe this final star will come in time, as the team see more and more benefits from using the system. They also commented on how responsive the birdie team has been to our needs, providing a continually improving functionality.

Succeed and grow together

Max Parmentier, CEO of birdie, said: “Working with an extraordinary care provider like Reed is about more than simply providing a platform and walking away. We work closely with our partners to collaborate on features and share new insights, so we can both succeed and grow together.

“Our mission at birdie is to reinvent care through technology and enable older adults to thrive at home. Partnerships like ours with Reed, and their team of outstanding care professionals, make this a reality for more individuals across the country every day.”

Our Divisional Director Helen Clark added: “Embracing technology in our specialist complex care business has been necessary for some time and this was brought rapidly to the fore owing to the pandemic. The need to implement digital innovations has obvious benefits – including ensuring safe delivery, record keeping and ensuring all key stakeholders are engaged in quality care delivery.  This has been massively beneficial for families in feeling involved in the care delivery of their loved ones and from a feedback and continuous improvement process perspective.

“We had to consider the challenges that implementing technology would have at an already challenging time – including the impact on our own teams at Reed. In choosing birdie as our partner, we have been able to launch, implement and optimise all that the system brings whilst continuing to deliver quality services safely. Our relationship with birdie, I am sure, will continue to flourish and grow – we have already seen our feedback into their development of the system taken on board and embraced, with positive outcomes.”

Looking for services or your next role in health & care? Get in touch with one of our expert registered managers today.