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tech / innovation
5 care innovations helping to build the home care industry of the future
February 11, 2020
Care innovations are changing the landscape of home care. New and exciting care innovations are being unveiled all the time - from AI to robotics, the future is being shaped by our ability to incorporate and build great technology that assists care provision.
Meet the newest innovations...
AI and machine learning
You’ve probably heard the terms AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning - but what do they actually mean, and how will they impact care in particular?
Artificial intelligence (AI) and the terms machine learning or machine intelligence describe ‘intelligence’ demonstrated by machines and computers. Humans have natural intelligence - and AI and machine learning are often used to describe the way that machines and computers can mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as "learning" and "problem solving". When it comes to healthcare, a good example would be a computer software that can help diagnose a condition, based on the information you give it. It is not using a natural ability to recall information and map it to a condition (like a doctor), instead it uses the data it has been given to draw conclusions, which at times can be far more accurate than human intervention.
“The AI market for healthcare applications is expected to achieve rapid adoption globally, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 42% until 2021. Excellent patient outcomes, reduced treatment costs, and elimination of unnecessary hospital procedures with easier hospital workflows and patient-centric treatment plans are the prime reasons for the wide adoption and successive growth of the AI market in the healthcare industry.” Reenita Das (Forbes)
There are plenty of ways in which AI innovations are impacting healthcare. Systems like app-based GP services have paved the way for quicker and simpler diagnosis, trackers and monitoring systems have helped machines to learn patterns in health and predict issues or problems before the user is even aware.
When it comes to home care, Birdie is one software system currently utilising these advances in technology. Pairing home monitoring systems for older adults that learn behaviours and cues, with an app and software-based reporting system means that symptoms and concerning behaviours can be spotted in advance - reducing hospital admissions and helping elderly people and their families take control of their own care.
“Innovations in AI and machine learning are making it possible to utilise data to create predictive models that not only help doctors and their patients make quicker, real-time decisions but detect issues at an early enough stage to provide true preventative care.” Michael Kisch, (Med Tech)
In short, we can use AI and machine learning to take data from real people and make really informed predictions about what the best care would be for them. This means we are far more likely to catch problems earlier on, helping to reduce hospital admissions and help everyone get the right care at the right time.
Fitness trackers, fall devices and heart rate monitors have all been commonplace for some time, but the interesting innovations in this space come from the data that we feed to these devices.
The kind of information we allow these devices to track includes everything from our sleeping patterns to our exercise habits - which means that the data controllers can build a complete picture of health, with little to no intrusion into our lives.
Harnessing this huge spectrum of data data gives scientists the information they need to not only make better assumptions and take better decisions, but also build better health systems and develop more reliable medications.
No longer is the benefit of wearable tech just the ability to detect a fall in an elderly person at home, instead, we all contribute to building the future just by strapping on our watches every day.
What does a new internet network have to do with care? As Bernard Marr reported in Forbes (full article here), “the capabilities for healthcare centres to provide care in remote or under-served areas through telemedicine is increasing. The quality and speed of the network are imperative for positive outcomes. 5G can better support healthcare organizations by enabling the transmission of large imaging files so specialists can review and advise on care; allow for the use of AI and Internet of Things technology; enhance a doctor's ability to deliver treatments through AR, VR (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) and mixed reality; and allow for remote and reliable monitoring of patients.”
A faster network means that we can build better care, from home - reducing the strain on hospitals and GPs and allowing for better, more reliable sharing of data. For instance, when it comes to the home care industry, the 5G network could open up possibilities for better point-of-care diagnostics (more on that later), more reliable home monitoring and even faster data transfers between care staff and GPs, hospitals and care managers or providers.
Elderly adults living in more rural areas will also have access to better technology via the internet, meaning there are no delays in care, wherever they are living.
Making a diagnosis at point of care is a huge advance for technology and one which looks set to assist the NHS and allow for more direct care. This innovation comes in many forms, but when it comes to home care, the advances are being brought to life in the form of app-based software that allows doctors, GPs and paramedics to make better decisions based on a patient’s history - instantly. Removing the guesswork by digitising paper records means that point-of-care diagnostics can be made faster, with more reliability. A person's medical history, medications, notes and observations can be accessed quickly, so even in emergency situations the right diagnosis can be made. Saving time by making an initial diagnosis means better care can be given and the right treatment administered quickly and, above all, safely.
Birdie is already paving the way for point-of-care diagnosis with third-party access to the Birdie App. In the unfortunate event that an ambulance is called or if a doctor needs to make a visit, the information about previous visits, medical conditions and concerns recorded by care staff are available instantly, which helps provide more information so that an accurate diagnosis can be made.
When it comes to helping the elderly live more independently, home companions like Amazon Alexa and Google Home have been touted as a solution for everything from companionship to helping take medication on time. You're now able to create daily tasks and reminders as well as receive alerts to switch off your lights, change the tv channel or call family members with voice control. This provides elderly people with reduced mobility or independence the power to revolutionise their lives at home.
For care providers, the devices can be programmed by caregivers to make sure that the older adult takes medication on time and completes daily routines.
The key takeaway
At Birdie, we're excited to see the home care industry improve through the assistance of tech. Our care management software platform and home monitoring devices are just the start of many innovative care-tech solutions we hope to offer - but the first step in harnessing the power of care innovations is in going paper-free.
Digitising your care management means you’ll be able to offer solutions like home monitoring and faster point-of-care diagnosis to your clients - leading to safer care and more informed decisions.
See how Enthuse Care are using technology to improve their care delivery with our quick video:
Want to use these innovations in your own home care agency? Why not book a demo of Birdie to see how we could help?