Many of us use some kind of technology to monitor our health and well-being. We’ve got fitness trackers, smart watches, sleep trackers, fluid logs, gym apps and so much more. We input our data and track our progress so we can see where and how we can make changes to improve our health. And just as it can improve our health, data and analytics can improve your care management too!
With this in mind, the same concept is now being applied in the care sector. Care teams are now able to use a digital system to record notes and assist with daily care. Moving away from a paper-based system comes with a whole host of benefits, one of which is the huge amount of data that can be analysed, which has great potential to improve the way care and support is provided.
In order to look at ways in which care can be improved, measurable data is needed. Not only will this help to spot any initial areas for improvement, but the continuous monitoring of data allows you to accurately measure the effects of any changes made. A data-driven approach to care can really help care teams to better understand those they support, and feel confident they are providing the safest daily care to each individual.
Fears surrounding big data
Although the idea of using data analysis is supposed to instill confidence in carers, it is understandable that many people still have their reservations about this, mainly surrounding the accuracy of said data, and where data protection comes into the equation. But when it comes to the digital vs paper debate, it is clear that paper recording poses a far greater risk for inaccuracy and inconsistencies in patient information.
We are already starting to see technology being implemented within the health and social care sectors. The NHS is slowly starting to work on digitalisation of patient records, and electronic care planning is now becoming the norm across many care homes in the UK. Now that the care sector is rapidly adopting a digital way of working, data analytics is the next step in evolving and enhancing the way we care. But how exactly can data and analytics improve your care management?
Spotting trends in those you support
One of the main benefits of analysing data is to be able to spot trends. This could be anything from eating habits to sleeping patterns, and these trends may vary between care providers.
What this allows carers to do is look at the bigger picture. Did someone refuse their dinner or their medication one night? If so, why did they? Who was on shift that evening? When looking at the bigger picture you can start to see what’s missing or what’s changed and ask the necessary questions to get to the bottom of it.
With paper recording, it can be a little trickier to keep up to date with the bigger picture and see things clearly, meaning things can get missed. While it may sound extreme, spotting someone’s decline in appetite could be the difference between life or death, as this could be the first sign of an underlying condition that could otherwise go unnoticed.
Creating continuity of care
Having data recorded electronically makes it far easier to run reports, and gain insight into individual’s needs. This type of data recording and reporting is proactive and allows you to share insight and information with your care team and other healthcare providers in a safe and efficient way.
With data reports readily available to view, this is a far more accurate way of sending and receiving up to date information, ensuring that everyone is getting the right level of care they require.
Creates a transparent care environment
When there is clear communication among care teams, you are better equipped to support those in your care. Going digital has its benefits in ensuring everyone is on the same page, but the analysis of data takes this one step further.
By providing everyone with the facts and figures in a clear and concise way, these insights will empower carers to be the best they can be. With reports and data readily available, this means everyone can have clarity around the type of care an individual needs and what is being done to support them, and family members can be kept in the loop so they have peace of mind their loved ones are in good hands.
Transparency is key when it comes to evidencing care for CQC purposes. Data analysis better equips you to provide the best quality care as well as have all the necessary information readily available for inspectors when you have an audit.
The future of data and analytics in a post Covid-19 world
This year, the care sector has faced many challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe and sadly became one of the leading causes of deaths within care. Understanding something like this virus can become a lot easier when we’re able to analyse the facts and the figures. Care homes who were successful in preventing an outbreak within their organisation were monitoring things extremely closely. Symptoms, incubation periods, and patient-staff interactions were all recorded and able to be analysed to track and prevent outbreaks from sweeping through their care service.
Data and analytics is quickly going to become a must within the care sector in a post-pandemic world. The Goverment have already invested £600 billion into an Infection Control Fund for care homes, and using that funding for digital transformation could help so many care services become better prepared in the future. Not only does technology make it far easier to breakdown and understand data, but using a digital device to share information with staff, families and other healthcare services is far safer as it reduces contact between one another. Staff will be able to work more efficiently when they can all access a centralised system remotely, and it’ll be easier to log and track who has been where and when which will ultimately help prevent the spread of the virus.
How electronic care planning can help
Moving towards a digital way of working has a number of advantages, and now is the time for care services who are still using paper records to make the switch. Collating and using big data allows care teams to become more aware and vigilant of the risks to those they support, understand those risks, and implement solutions. At Nourish, we want to encourage data analysis to help care organisations provide better care, which is why our electronic care planning system can also be upgraded with an analytics tool that can help spot trends and patterns to better equip you in supporting those in your care.
We now also have a Covid-19 Tracker built into our platform, so you can track the virus more closely and understand how it is affecting your care service. To find out more about how Nourish can help you provide better care, book a demo with us today.