Guest blog: Five steps to take when introducing technology
The world of technology is all around us; we use it in our personal lives all the time. We use the internet for shopping, for banking and for connecting with friends and family. Yet, when we think about technology and our work, it can suddenly get very daunting and scary.
Knowing who to talk to and what questions to ask, and ensuring that you include your team members in the process, can be very challenging and complex. Many people can’t afford to make the wrong decision… so some may think: is it better to not make a decision at all?
As a personal observation, I have noticed that the roadshows and exhibitions across adult social care increasingly focus on digital solutions for you, your staff and those who draw on care and support. Digital care planning, eMAR solutions, rostering, payroll software, wearable care tech solutions and cloud solutions dominate exhibition halls. However, this all sounds a bit intimidating if you don’t feel confident using technology, doesn’t it?
What we do know is that, if done well, using technology in social care promotes high-quality care and more accurate information. It’s safer than a paper-based system where lost paperwork is irretrievable, and it reduces errors and can transform care outcomes. Technology also increases the potential for more time to spend with the people you care for, rather than being bogged down by administrative tasks. Meanwhile, it can equip staff with the key, up-to-date information they need to deliver care.
But where do you start? Well, thinking about which technology to use should be viewed in the same way as any other project or change you might make in your service.
Five steps to consider when introducing technology
Here are some key steps I would recommend when making decisions around technology:
1. Define your ideal outcomes
First, it’s important to consult with your teams and wider stakeholders to think about the outcomes you want. Getting to the bottom of why digital technology might be important to you is key.
Examples could include a better quality of life for the people you support, greater efficiency, and greater interoperability with health and care systems outside your service (for example with district nurses, clinicians, allied health professionals and so on).
2. Decide on your non-negotiables
Thinking about the things you can and can’t compromise on is also vital. For example, consider the following points:
- Scope – what do you need and what don’t you need?
- Background context – why are you doing it? What is the current situation?
- Requirements – what outcome do you want to get at the end of it?
- Budget – how much money can you spend?
3. Bring your people with you
It is important that you get your staff and the people you support involved in deciding what is important and which system to buy. These are your key stakeholders as they will be the ones using the system and the people most affected by it.
4. Knowledge is power
Why not talk to other organisations that have gone through the process themselves? There are lots of great case studies and guidance documents on digitalsocialcare.co.uk to help you take the fear out of these decisions.
5. Ask questions of technology providers
Practically speaking, there are several questions to ‘have in your back pocket’ to help you consider what the right thing for you and your organisation is. Think about your values – does the technology match them? Can you get a free trial? How long is the contract, and what support is available to help? Is there a customer service team?
There are lots of moving parts to consider when thinking about technology – but many care providers have made the step into digital care. We know that making decisions can be scary, but we also know peer-to-peer advice helps people make clear decisions.
Join Digitising Social Care at the Care Managers Show
As we move towards this year’s Care Managers Show, we wanted to host a session for the ‘technophobes’ out there, who find conversations around technology difficult. We have a session titled I’m a technophobe, get me out of here! running on Friday 30 June between 10am – 10:45am in the Technology Theatre.
The session is designed to bring together former technophobes to talk about their journey and to de-myth potential misconceptions. We will talk to panel members about how they made decisions around technology, and advice they would give peers when thinking about using technology in social care. Come along and hear valuable insight from like-minded professionals. Leave empowered to make the best decisions for those drawing on care and to support you and your organisation.