Sunday, 6 November 2011

Telecare Efficiencies

One of the main reasons for the use and uptake of telecare is the potential efficiencies it brings. Efficiencies is a euphemism for cuts or savings not the alternative meaning of improving something. This does not mean that by making cuts something could not be improved, simply, this is not the main agenda.

This blog is testament to how efficiencies can be made whilst ensuring the quality of service and care are not reduced.

Telecare can save money, there is considerable evidence to back this up, but it can also waste money. Wastage is most clear when a predetermined set of telecare devices are used as a standard response to a specific condition. This can often mean redundant and disabling devices. Person specific telecare should ensure mean no redundant devices, thereby saving unwanted devices and their potential running costs.

The personalisation of telecare should enable efficiencies through enabling people and promoting healthier behaviours. For example, a woman who had fallen badly several times and been lying on her floor for many hours before being discovered by her daughter. As a result of this fall she sat in a chair all day too scared to move in case she fell again. The provision of a simple telecare pendant meant she no longer felt she had to remain seated. Moving around was now permitted as she could call for assistance in the event of a fall. This is constitutes efficiency and true enablement. Efficiency as all that was required was a pendant alarm. Enablement was through the woman not spending her remaining years sat in a chair. For this woman telecare meant independence. Clearly the hidden savings are in other health related spending as a result of sitting all day and not moving. Over the forthcoming years that could be a seriously large amount of money for this one person.

The most effective efficiencies are derived through assessing people correctly for telecare and ensuring that team that provides the telecare works well. This means the processes and protocols are in a coherent workable form. It also follows that they need to be easy to implement and follow just as audit trails are required to be evidenceable at any time.

The telecare service provision is most likely to be riddled with policies and procedures that either do not exist or outdated and this directly causes inefficiencies. Inefficiencies equate to throwing away money and poor customer service. These inefficiencies can be riddled throughout the whole service including response services and the sales teams.

1 comment:

Telecare Technology said...

It's always very interesting because people have used our services in a positive risking taking way and been able to ensure certain service users are achieving their care goals on their own. For example, the woman that gets a call to tell her its time to eat lunch and to make it - she is eating every day now and not relying on other people to help her. An immediate efficiency saving as they would have had to send some round to do it, but also she is much more confident and independent which is priceless.

Then there were a few cases in the first year of me starting, where people would put the system in on top of the current care package they were receiving. This just cost them more money because it wasn't used to reduce care packages and maintain the high quality of care.

Our solution to this was to provide a support package when a local authority purchases our services because although it will cost them a bit more, we will work with their teams and ensure they achieve the efficiency savings. It's in our interest that the service gets used properly otherwise we don't have the case studies to prove that it is effective!