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Call for government to co-ordinate investment in digitisation of social care

18th February 2021 about a 3 minute read
“This is not about technology for technology’s sake… There are real solutions that could transform the care sector and transform people’s lives”. Dr Peter Bloomfield, FCC Head of Policy and Research

A new report is urging the government to co-ordinate investment in the digitisation of social care services across England .

The Care Tech Landscape Review, released today by Future Care Capital (FCC), recommends a range of measures to enable higher quality care through the use of technology.

The report also highlights the current lack of co-ordination of investment in social care. It points to the relatively small number of companies developing technology for home care providers compared to healthcare and other sectors.

Another issue is the many gaps in the availability of data on social care. An estimated 650,000 people receive care in their own homes. Most are funded by local authorities but growing numbers are now paying for their own care, although accurate figures on the size of each group are not available   

Call for targeted support

The Landscape Review says more targeted support and intervention is needed to grow the care tech market to meet people’s needs.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has noted that for every £1 of innovation funding committed by government, there is a £7 return on investment. Currently the government has a target for spending on research and development of 2.4% of GDP.

Dr Peter Bloomfield, FCC’s Head of Policy and Research, said the report comes at a crucial time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the care sector in the UK and highlighted some of the difficulties faced by care workers, recipients of care and their families.

“Our ageing population poses both opportunities and challenges, and individuals need to be empowered to live healthier lives for longer, in an independent way.”

“We want to see the facilitated adoption of technology rather than it springing up as a side stream to healthcare”.

Emerging market

He added that increased spending power and the emergence of a ‘silver economy’ suggested that a market was emerging that could make technology-led solutions available to more people.

“This is not about technology for technology’s sake… There are real solutions that could transform the care sector and transform people’s lives”.

The report includes case studies of startups in four main areas:

  1. Monitoring and wellbeing: these solutions rely heavily on networked IoT sensors and devices.
  2. Carers and records: the care workforce stands to benefit greatly from technological advances. Products in this area are largely based on apps and platforms.
  3. Analysis and insights: advances in this area can help care providers and empower individuals. They include end to end systems of IoT devices and also platforms such as Alexa and Google Home.
  4. Independence: new technology can offer a range of benefits from enabling people to manage personal care to monitoring medication and automatically monitoring repeat prescriptions. 5G testbed technology has been used with some success here.

A copy of FCC’s The Home Care Technology Landscape Review is available here 

And you can join a webinar at 4pm on Tuesday February 23 to hear more about issues raised in the report. There will be short presentations from a panel of experts followed by a Q&A. You can register here for free.