Before the pandemic, our digital health company was providing technology services to 500 care homes, helping the NHS to look after vulnerable residents and preventing avoidable hospital admissions. This figure has increased to around 2,000 over the last year. UK SMEs like Inhealthcare are leading the digital transformation of the social care sector.
We know demand for social care is growing fast. Latest statistics show the UK had 1.9 million requests for adult social care last year, an increase of six per cent over the last five years. We are all getting older – the number of people aged 75 and above is expected to increase by nearly 60 per cent over the next two decades. That’s another 2.7 million elderly folks to care for.
In the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, the government announced plans to bring forward legislation to empower the NHS to innovate and embrace technology. Among its main benefits, the Health and Care Bill will make it easier for different parts of the health and care system, including doctors and nurses, carers, local government officials and the voluntary sector to work together to provide joined-up services.
We have been working hard with NHS organisations across the UK to scale up services that connect health and social care and empower care home workers. As an SME, we are nimble and agile enough to collaborate with local organisations to design services that meet local needs. In north-east London, Inhealthcare is linking up care homes with family doctors to identify any residents at risk of developing health problems and intervene early with treatment. This is absolutely not about reducing face-to-face contact between doctors and patients – it is using technology to deliver preventative care, target resources more effectively and free up clinicians to spend more time with those in the greatest need.
Osman Bhatti, a GP in Tower Hamlets and Chief Clinical Information Officer for the East London Health and Care Partnership, said: “The roll out of remote patient monitoring in care homes is a critical programme of work to connect our primary care networks with care home residents. It will empower care home staff and enable early intervention in the care of vulnerable residents – helping us to closely manage their health and reduce avoidable hospital admissions.”
The King’s Fund is recommending that investment be “dramatically” increased in the spread of best practice in social care digital technology use and into research for opportunities to support better outcomes using digital technology. We could not agree more. As an SME, Inhealthcare is proud to be helping care home residents stay safe and well during the pandemic and helping staff to do the best possible job for the people in their care. Our digital health and remote monitoring services are supporting the sector today and providing a platform for its future.
The government has promised to bring forward proposals later in the year to reform adult social care so every person receives the dignity and security they deserve. UK technology SMEs can help deliver this policy objective. In turn, the government can help us by making sure public procurement does not discriminate against smaller companies of the UK as we work with our partners in the public sector to transform social care for the benefit of residents, workers and the wider economy.