IoTUK Care Clinic
On 15 September, the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust jointly published a report titled ‘Social care for older people’. The report made headlines in the press and was covered by most news channels because it highlighted the challenges that exist in the care sector due to reduced funding and the rationing of care.
The following day, Brighton Digital Catapult Centre and IoTUK held a Care Clinic to bring together care providers, experts in the care sector and technology providers large and small. Given the previous day’s news, there was a tremendous amount of positive energy from all the parties in the room. The challenges faced by the industry were real but so was the determination to tackle them.
Our speakers were discussing health and care on behalf of:
In her keynote speech, Vic Rayner, Executive Director from the NCF, echoed the challenges that were being expressed by the care providers in attendance. Some of the care challenges include funding, market conditions, workforce and changing demographics.
A number of workshops were facilitated by our experts to understand the day-to-day activities of care businesses and care providers. This was for the benefit of SMEs that are aiming to provide IoT solutions for the care sector. Prior to the clinic, SMEs voiced their difficulties in getting face time with care professionals primarily due to the staffing issues that the care sector faces today. Even on the day of the clinic, we had a few absences from care providers due to staffing issues.
The day-to-day tasks were then distilled down to care objectives where technology may be able to improve on the solutions deployed at the moment. Care providers were keen to understand the practical benefits that technology could offer today without wandering into the realms of science fiction. There were plenty of honest and open discussions and it was also great to see collaboration between technology providers. One might assume that there is a great deal of rivalry between technology firms, but on the day, they worked together to learn from each other and even formed partnerships.
By the end of the day we had a number of challenges that our SMEs and care providers had prioritised around:
- Quality of care
- Data collection and use
- Independent living
It was encouraging to see that almost everyone left the clinic agreeing to partner with other organisations in order to address solutions to these challenges. There are clearly some difficulties in the care sector as we face an increasing elderly population with fewer national and local resources. However, there is some encouraging news from the technology sector, where the Internet of Things could assist those wishing to live independently for longer.