Social care is on its knees, according to recent public satisfaction reports. The Good Care Guide’s latest evaluation of reviews states that home care services are in a ‘dire state’. It cites short visits and ‘missed and late appointments’ by many staff looking after vulnerable older people as the cause for plummeting levels of satisfaction.
A unique new app may provide the answer to a transformational uplift in quality and efficiency of care. Launched today by everyLIFE Technologies, ‘openPASS’ (patent pending) is an app that enables a person’s up-to-date care record to be viewed in real time in their home or remotely. This can be done at any time, via a smart phone or tablet, by all the people involved in their care, including health professionals and their families. This is an important first step in uniting health and social care intelligently, providing up-to-date information on length of care visits, and missed and late appointments.
Which is what people want, according to new online YouGov research, commissioned by everyLIFE Technologies to mark the launch of openPASS.
2,083 adults were asked what would help them know a relative is safely cared for at home or in a residential care home:
• 70% said regular updates on their relative’s care
• 68% said having one person (eg, one care worker) as the recognised point of contact for their relative’s care information
• 65% said having regular medicines reviews to ensure medicines are being taken correctly
• 61% said being able to view their relative’s social care plan and social care record whenever they wanted to
• Only half (50%) said having no time limits on appointments between their relative and carer
They were also asked who they thought should be able to view their relative’s social care record whenever they wish.
• 84% said their GP
• 74% said clinical hospital staff
• 61% said community nurses
• 60% said family members
• 58% said paramedics
Paul Barry, chief executive, everyLIFE Technologies said: “Everyone gets anxious when a family member needs social care, but what’s interesting is that being out of the loop concerns people more than short care visits. Now that most people have smart phones, a simple app like openPASS, which connects to a platform recording their relative’s or patient’s information in real time, means they can now see what’s going on at any time, wherever they are. Missed or late appointments can be noted immediately, giving greater control over a loved one’s care.”
Dr Michael Dixon OBE, a Devon GP, and chair of everyLIFE’s professional advisory group, said: “We talk endlessly about patient-centred care, but the reality is that we are far from delivering it. Records are not joined up, and people receiving care from different professionals find themselves giving the same information over and over again, which can be challenging for many elderly people. I believe openPASS will mark a step change in how we deliver care.
“For me, it’s about transparency and visibility. The ability for families and health professionals to view their relative’s or patient’s care records whenever they want is an obvious step forward to improving quality. It simply makes sense and often it’s the simplest steps that make the greatest difference.”
Professor Rob Darracott, chief executive, Pharmacy Voice, which represents community pharmacy, said: “‘openPASS is a great example of how technology can enhance patient care. Crucially, this technology pays as much attention to data security as it does to data sharing – providing the confidence needed to make this time-saving tool a success. By opening up patient data in a highly secure way, such as making social and summary care records available to community pharmacists, healthcare can be truly joined-up – while reducing red tape for clinicians. The role of openPASS in medicines management could also be crucial. There are many good reasons why older people may have to take a number of medicines concurrently, but it is neither good for them, nor for the wider NHS, if they are taking too many, especially if some are no longer effective, or if they are no longer taken as prescribed. openPASS has huge potential to stay on top of this.”
Paul Barry founded everyLIFE Technologies in 2015 based on his own experience of running a home care provider. “Balancing quality with efficiency was what kept me awake at night. My first challenge was the endless, time consuming paperwork, which took valuable time away from front line care and also meant unacceptable time delays in monitoring care, which is why we first developed a platform to record and monitor information in real time and why more than 200 home care agencies and 10 residential care homes are now actively using the PASSsystem. The second challenge was how to deliver consistent quality of care, and keep people’s families, and the health professionals involved in their care, fully up-to-date. openPASS, is our response to that.”
Richard Lee, chief operating officer, everyLIFE, notes: “Security is paramount when managing people’s personal care information, which is why we use a robust, patent pending system to validate openPASS users.”
Family and care worker perspective 1
Prem Mahabir has been receiving home care for the past eight years since her husband died. She had to move from her family home in London to Chichester to be nearer her daughter. Prem is 81 years old and has some complex care requirements. Prem’s daughter, Lulu Moulton, said: “I will absolutely use openPASS. I’m proactive in my Mum’s care and the openPASS app will be really beneficial in saving me time. Mum lives just down the road from me, so it will be easy for me to pop in and use the app, as well being able to access it 24/7 from my own home. My sister lives in London and I currently have to do a daily round up email of Mum’s care, but now she’ll she just be able to login into openPASS and see who has been to visit her and any notes I have sent to the care provider.
“I like to check Mum is ok, I suppose I’m a bit of a worrier and like to be in control. With openPASS I can check her routine is being followed and her medication has been taken. I really like the fact I can see the advanced bookings through openPASS for the continuity of care. Each care worker has a certain set of strengths so I can assure the right care worker is attending the right visit and instantly know if anyone new has been scheduled.
“openPASS looks really good and is visually engaging. The functionality is simple and quick to use. I’m excited to see this next stage in care adopted as the normal practice.”
Rachel, Prem’s care worker said: “This is a great app. It means no extra administration for me as it is a portal view of The PASSsystem. It means Lulu and her sister can be reassured and see what I have done in real time, which is great as Lulu’s sister lives in London.”
Family and care worker perspective 2
Caroline Parker, 68, has been receiving care since having a series of falls since August 2015. She lives with her husband who cares for her day-to-day, but the care workers come to offer respite.
“I think it’s really important for healthcare professionals like paramedics and district nurses to be able to access my care notes as there is a lot of cross over with my care workers. I think both uses of the application are essential, especially if family members are abroad.
“My husband would use it when he comes home and my sister would use the 24/7 view. She often stays when my husband is away for work and she was a district nurse. It’s easy to access and great to have real time updates to the care plan for all. It’s a very good idea, why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? It provides an audit trail and is easy to change my bookings, and I love the security of the GPS and QR code verification.”
Sam Gibbons, Caroline’s care co-ordinator, said: “I often see someone more than their family and close friends do, so openPASS will give those people my view. It’s like they are delivering the care with me. I think openPASS is a brilliant idea and will be hugely reassuring for families who live a long way from their loved ones, often abroad. To know what is going on is usually the most important thing to them. The PASSsystem has already made a huge difference to my everyday working life. It’s such a relief not to have to manage time-consuming paperwork and have more time to care.”