Step change in the use of technology during Covid-19 pandemic

A report from the Institute of Public Care and Digital Social Care, has identified significant benefits for care providers arising from the use of technology in the rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, The Impact of Technology in Adult Social Care Provider Services, was commissioned by NHSX, and makes recommendations on how the recent experience and rapid deployment of digital technology can be consolidated and harnessed for future needs.

The research set out to examine the barriers, enabling factors, and benefits of adopting technology. Designed to avoid placing an undue burden on the sector at this time, the study provided a new helpline to support the adult social care sector to use technology during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The study ran from 20 April to 19 June 2020, a time when there was a rapid increase in demand from social care providers for digital services such as NHSmall, video conferencing, and other digital technologies.

Fiona Richardson, IPC Assistant Director, said: “At this extremely stressful time on the frontline of coronavirus care, we want to help care service providers who are working with new technology, perhaps for the first time.

“The care sector needs support to deliver its essential work and this research could be an important driver in enabling us to harness all of the power that technology and digital innovations offer us.”

The report outlines significant gains from the use of technology, including better communication with NHS organisations, better coordination of care around an individual’s needs, and reduced administrative effort. Video conferencing in particular was seen as a significant – and indeed essential – aid.

Among the recommendations the report makes are a need to recognise the scale of support needed to roll out wider use of digital technologies in adult social care. As well as embracing common digital tools such as secure email and video conferencing,  independent, strategic advice will be essential to assist in the selection of the right tools, and to build a bigger ‘digital community’, as well as appropriate levels of digital skills training across the adult social care workforce.

To read and download the full report visit our publications.

For more information, please contact IPC Assistant Director Fiona Richardson on frichardson@brookes.ac.uk or 01865 790312.