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Paul Barry, founder of The Fourth Age of Care and chief executive of everyLIFE Technologies, has issued a stark warning to social care providers reliant on paper-based care management systems.

“Careless paperwork may cost lives. The ageing population is increasing, and care is becoming more complex but the approach to care hasn’t changed since 1992. Hand-written care notes that have to be typed up and delivered back to the office 30 days later is entirely unacceptable in technology-driven 21st century Britain. The margins for error are too great, and a care provider’s inability to see what’s happening in real time is dangerous and inefficient.”

“I know this from my own long-term experience of working in care, understanding the challenges day in day out, and realised the only solution to improving quality of care, and delivering efficiency at the same time, was via an intelligent, digital care management platform. I believe moving care management to digital platforms should be the number one priority for all providers of home and residential care.”

Over the past 15 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people being supported at home, rather than in residential care. Across the UK 1.2 million receive care, 75% at home. Barry’s warning coincides with the national Care and Dementia conference (11-12 October in Birmingham) and marks the launch of The Fourth Age of Care.

The Fourth Age of Care describes what the future could look like if the care industry grasps the opportunities that digital technology can offer. It’s a way of thinking about a world where the person cared for in their own home or a residential or nursing home is connected to the network of people who support them. That includes their families, the carers who meet their day-to-day needs and health and social care professionals.

The Fourth Age of Care is a vision of a connected world that is safer, more transparent, more inclusive and offers a more sustainable business model. It highlights that it is important to offer greater choice and control for people and their families. Getting there will not be without challenges, some technical, some cultural and some just about having the time and headspace to imagine how things can change.

Dr Michael Dixon, chair of everyLIFE Technologies’ advisory board says: “Too often, health and social care professionals are slowed down by disjointed records and risky care can be the result. The impact of this goes far beyond financial cost and efficiencies, we are compromising patient care. We cannot expect health and social care to become joined up if they do not speak the same digital language.” 


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