For many social care providers, taking advantage of today’s technology-based solutions offer countless benefits. This could be in terms of efficiency, compliance and quality of care. It’s hard to read an article or attend a presentation about technology and its impact on social care without the topic quickly transitioning to driving efficiencies and maintaining compliance requirements.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. The social care sector is facing unprecedented challenges and in the current climate. It is critical that providers are operating efficiently. Technology advancements will continue to play the lead role in helping social care providers.

Technology allows us to:

  • Improve efficiencies
  • Streamline processes
  • Enable staff to work smarter and boost productivity
  • Make labour cost savings
  • Reduce compliance and safety risks
  • Enhance the quality of care services.

In recent times, numerous studies have quantified these financial drivers for implementing electronic systems within the aged care industry.

However, we should not focus too heavily on the measurable benefits of technology in social care, namely, the ROI prize. In doing this, we risk discounting the intrinsic value that innovative systems can also offer. This is especially relevant to those working within the social care sector.

So beyond the reports and dashboards, here are five of the less obvious ways that technology can deliver value. Value to a social organisation and certainly, its staff.

Technology can greatly improve the social care experience for staff

Social care professionals are celebrated for their tireless commitment to providing high quality care and support to service users. The challenge for staff is that administration within the sector has become increasingly complex over the years. This is due to documentation and paperwork associated with care plans, assessments, progress notes and funding.

Technology greatly improves the experience of modern day social care. This is especially prevalent for the staff as it enables them to focus more of their time on doing what they do best – delivering care in compassionate and considerate ways. Implementing simplified and automated processes, your staff will spend substantially less time on arduous paperwork and administrative tasks. They will, instead, spend more time delivering better care.

Technology can enhance communication between staff, residents, clients and their families

Technology applications are providing unprecedented scope for nursing and care staff. This allows them to conduct more regular and convenient online interactions with the families of elderly clients and residents. These interactions will help staff in bridging the communication gap. This will also provide reassurance to families and advocates in the level of care and support that is being delivered to their loved ones.

Over time, new residents, clients and their families will become increasingly computer literate. While they may not widely be requesting to communicate with your staff online at the moment, it won’t be long before societal expectations change. The change in the technological climate will mean that the demand for technology-based communication will soar.

Technology can improve staff engagement and boost company morale

There is a wide range of technology-based solutions designed exclusively for the social care sector. Many solutions sit between different functions within the organisation. For many organisations, the introduction of new technology systems is a process that requires input from the majority of internal stakeholders.

The implementation process is a rare opportunity to collaborate with staff from every corner or the organisation. It gives staff an opportunity to share with one another, work together, embrace, debate, learn and even challenge. Engaging staff throughout the transition will improve morale and reduce frustration. This also helps to foster a culture employees understand that their opinions matter and will be listened to.

An investment in technology is also an investment in staff

It is widely recognised that the social care sector has often avoided adopting electronic systems, based on a fear of applications being too complicated or not suitable to the practical needs of nursing and care staff.

However, when IT training is included as part of an organisation’s professional development or dedicated change management approach, the level of confidence that staff feel towards working with technology quickly increases. An investment in IT training enables staff to make the best use of an electronic system. This also provides them with the confidence to embrace technology in their own lives.

Providing staff access to modern, easy to use technology and the appropriate training also goes a long way in helping to increase staff retention and the attraction of skilled employees.

Benefits of technology can encourage a flow-on effect
 throughout the organisation

You may also discover that an efficient, technology-based system works to improve efficiency and productivity within your organisation. It will also prompt your staff to look at how they complete other tasks and responsibilities with a fresh perspective. As ideas and suggestions are encouraged, more benefits will be realised. Staff will come to see the potential for improvements across their areas of influence.

In what other ways have you seen technology provide additional value to your organisation? Have they been measurable or not? Please share these with us in the comments section below.

(Image credit: Adamr)