Liverpool City Council (LCC) is leading the way in better home care services through the adoption of new technology. Using grant funding and a new approach to procurement which aims to embed innovation, the council is bringing together providers and technology companies to revolutionise services. Clever digital solutions are increasing efficiency and reducing paperwork, which leaves carers with more time to do their job, driving up standards and improving the quality of care.
Richard from KTN was a great help. In a short time, he brought together a collection of providers that were just right for our sector. Their technologies were CQC-compliant and they understood the needs and standards of care environment. Care providers were able to make choices with confidence and this has broken down barriers and allowed us to bring in innovation across the authority. We could not have achieved this without the expertise of KTN.
Liverpool City Council’s ‘Help to Live at Home Service’ provides domiciliary care for thousands of residents, via a network of independent providers. Over 40,000 people in Liverpool have a condition that limits their daily activities, either because of age or a long-term illness. Councils are restricted in what they can afford to pay for care provision, so the service needed to be redesigned, using technology to help the carers serve more people without compromising support.
LCC was already part of Stop and Go (Sustainable Technology for Older People – Get Organised), an EU PPI project which provides co-financing to help councils meet the cost of introducing ICT enabled healthcare services.Commissioning and Contracts Manager Ann Williams was working with The Innovation Agency (previously North West Coast Academic Health Science Network) and Innovate UK, also partners in Stop and Go, when they introduced her to Richard Foggie, Knowledge Transfer Manager for Digital Economy and the Internet of Things.
The council was tendering for domiciliary care services, and wanted providers to include technology solutions in their offer. However, the organisations involved were resistant to change. Low margins made the initial costs of new ICT solutions off-putting, and many available technologies were not tailored to their needs, so Ann needed to present digital solutions to providers in an accessible way.
In April 2016, KTN helped organise a ‘speed dating’ event at Anfield, sourcing suitable technology businesses and inviting around 50 of them along to demonstrate their products and services and explain how they would work in a care setting.
Richard Foggie drew on his extensive contacts and sector knowledge to propose companies whose products had real relevance to the industry, and was able to explain the technology in clear terms. He also introduced the day and ensured it ran smoothly, with each provider spending time with each provider.
The event was such a success that two of the technologies have been adopted already – and they immediately made a huge difference:
- The PASS system, from Every Life Solutions, an SME business based in Hampshire, digitises care records which can be seen in real time on a phone app downloaded by a patient’s family. Carers can swipe a QR code on entering a home and immediately discover their patient’s name, meal preferences, whether they need any shopping and when they last took tablets or had a dressing change. The system can be managed centrally on screens in call centres, so if a carer’s car breaks down on the way to a visit, a replacement can be sent over immediately, preventing missed appointments.Families can also monitor care via the app so that they know their relative is being taken care of – or can sound the alarm if they are not happy. This is especially valuable if a patient has dementia and cannot correctly recall when they last ate, took medicines or had a visitor.
- Caring Cloud from Cardiff uses LoRaWAN technology – a Low Power, Wide Area Network for the Internet of Things (IoT) – to provide monitoring in people’s homes by putting sensors around the house to check if a patient has been out of bed and eaten, or whether they are waking up and wandering in the night. Initial results have been so good that the council is working with Amazon web services to maximise the potential of LoRaWAN.
Results have been so positive that Liverpool City Council aims to roll out the technology across the whole spectrum of social care and is looking at partnerships with suppliers and more funding options with help from KTN. Neighbouring authorities have also been impressed with the approach and Liverpool is seeking to extend the project to other locations.
- KTN organised an event with Liverpool City Council and provided introductions to relevant technology companies
- Feedback from care providers was very positive – the event, and KTN, helped them to see the possibilities for technology in their sector for the first time
- As a result, Liverpool City Council has so far adopted several digital services, including the PASS system and the LoRaWAN monitoring service
- This has led to significant improvements for both care providers and patients. It is hoped this will become a city region-wide solution
- KTN also helps monitor and feed back information on the services to the EU, with Richard Foggie recently accompanying the council on a trip to Brussels