A new study from Mobile UK suggests that closing the digital divide could help make adult social care more efficient and effective, as well as saving councils money and reducing stress on the NHS
Mobile UK, the voice of the UK’s main mobile network operators, has published a report entitled Connected Care: How mobile connectivity can help councils overcome the challenges of delivering adult social care. This report highlights the enormous potential that connectivity can offer to the challenges that councils face in delivering adult social care.
While innovation in emerging technologies is forging ahead, and other industries and sectors are taking advantage of mobile connectivity, this new report finds that social care providers and councils are not currently set up to take advantage of improved efficiencies – with only 40% of social care providers currently ‘digitised’.
With councils struggling, both financially and in terms or resources, the opportunities that digital connectivity can offer should be better understood.
New digital devices offer adults in need of in-home living support provision the chance to live independently for longer. For every additional week not in residential care councils can save £648 per person – or £33,700 per year. Additionally, remote monitoring to ensure medication is taken can potentially reduce hospital admissions by 60% – crucial at a time when the NHS is facing its biggest ever challenge. [Government Transformation, 2021].
Digital solutions could also have a material impact on alleviating the social care staffing crisis by supporting better working conditions, easier reporting capabilities, enhanced recruitment processes and upskilling. One example, highlighted in the report in East London, showcased where the training of staff in the use of digital technologies provided opportunities for care workers to access new skills, and resulted in improved job satisfaction and enabled staff to reach their career goals.
This report finds that there is enormous potential for councils to do more to adopt new applications and to ensure the highest quality mobile connectivity is available to them. Local authorities must therefore put infrastructure at the heart of policy making, recognising its foundational status in enabling councils to do more with less while reducing the challenge of adult social care delivery. Mobile UK is advocating for centrally funded Digital Champions to help coordinate and take ownership of these plans
Commenting on the Connected Care report, Chief Executive for Mobile UK, Hamish MacLeod said:
“With the pressure on councils more pronounced than ever and social care one of the biggest challenges they face it is important that the role of digital connectivity and the opportunities it offers are better understood.
“Our report highlights many of these opportunities both to the council and those in need, calling for mobile connectivity to be more heavily integrated into council policy and planning.”
Commenting further, Cancer surgeon and Vodafone Connected Health Ambassador, Professor Shafi Ahmed said:
“Connectivity is key to deliver better, faster care to patients in every part of the health and social care services. Technology can – and I firmly believe, will – completely transform health care across the UK and beyond, making it more equitable, accessible and affordable. But there’s still considerable reluctance to embrace these changes, which is why reports like this are so vital.
“By setting out clearly where the opportunities are, Mobile UK has made it much easier for councils and care providers to understand the impact technology can have on the delivery and quality of social care.”
The full report which contains a foreword by Central London Forward’s Digital Champion Nicola Egan, can be viewed and downloaded here.
Are the UK’s mobile operators doing enough to support vulnerable customers and close the digital divide? Find out more from the operators at this year’s live Connected Britain conference