Skilled resources in the Health and Care markets have never been in such short supply. With an aging population in developed countries, and the success that medicine and clinical care have achieved maintaining life, the demographic balance in the UK has shifted increasing the percentage of people over 80 in the UK from some 3% in 2000, to just under 10% by 2050 (OECD). The proportion of the population over 85 years of age, is also forecast to triple from 2.4% in 2015 to 7.4 % by 2065 (ONS and OBR)! Increasing the proportion of the elderly population means that on average health, clinical and medicinal spend must increase to keep people healthy for longer because as we get older we become more susceptible to terminal diseases. Worse, in our later years we can also succumb to the results of self-inflicted poor lifestyle, such as lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, alcohol, over-eating, lack of social contact and so forth.
In a double whammy, we have lived through 8 years of Conservative government austerity during which local government funding has been slashed by 50%, with further cuts on the way, and spending on the NHS has not kept pace with inflation either. This has led to a £2.6 Billion shortfall in Social Care funding by 2020 (LGA), and a shortfall of £30 Billion in the NHS by 2020/21!
On the face of it we have no chance of meeting the wellbeing, health and care needs of our aging population in the UK without some hefty new financial investment, however there is cause for hope through an alternative route: The increased use of computerised systems, software and IT solutions in general combined with the Internet and digital devices.
By replacing traditional, people intensive methods with well-designed software within a state of the art modern IT solution, health and care staff can be scheduled to make their visits to patients in the community, and both access and record their progress through their mobile phones. Not only does this eliminate the paper-based systems they used in the past, replaced with electronic data capture, they also gain additional safeguarding benefits such as potentially life-saving alarms if any critical visits are delayed. Because schedules can be sent to staff in the field via the internet and their mobile device, this information flow can be in real time, and able to adjust to the changing demands of the service, and traffic issues. Staff schedules can take into account realistic travel times, time onsite with a patient is logged accurately, and piles of paper timesheets needing time consuming analysis become a thing of the past. As a result productivity can be greatly improved, not just for the staff preparing the schedules and care plans but for the dozens of staff in the field that they co-ordinate. Information can be shared efficiently too, whilst maintaining data security so only those authorised have access, unlike paper which could be read by all. Productivity gains of 10 – 20% are achievable at a cost for the IT solution of 2% – 5%. Potential gains of 10 to 1, or pay back in a few months each year the IT solution is in use! Not only that better safeguarding, of staff and patients, better health, care and wellbeing should all result.
Good software and IT is an essential part of the solution to the Demographic Timebomb.
At Ulysses we can model the return on investment for our custom software and IT solutions. Contact for details:
Pete Briggs, Senior Business Development Manager
UDMS Ltd – Ulysses
Suite 1, Thame House, Thame Road
Haddenham, Aylesbury, HP17 8HU
t: 01865 890883 & 07904 544673