Mobile technology is good news for the care industry and the evidence is clear. A recent survey by International Data Group (IDG), the UK’s leading technology media company, found that 74% of companies thought the service their mobile staff provided was important or extremely important* and the numbers are only increasing.
When an organisation is made up of purely mobile workers, as is the case in home care, it’s important to be sure that the work mobile care workers do is made as hassle-free as possible. So how can mobile technology make this possible? Here we explore three reasons why ‘going mobile’ is beneficial for the care sector.
1) Reduction in administration time
The problem with printing paper rosters is that as soon as they are printed, posted, or collected they are out of date. If a service user has to change their visit time, a phone call has to be made to the care worker. If someone calls in sick, their visits need to be covered so numerous phone calls have to be made to arrange cover. If a service user queries their visit durations on their invoices, hours are often spent cross referencing paper timesheets and questioning staff.
‘Going mobile’ removes all of this. By replacing paper rosters with electronic schedules that are delivered directly to a mobile device, a care worker can send immediate updates to schedules. If someone calls in sick, a simple group text message is sent out and the first to reply “yes” is allocated the visit.
Mobile devices also offer various options for clocking into a visit, whether the technology is based on phone location via satellite (GPS), image capture, or the more reliable NFC technology (as seen in contactless payments) Actual visit arrival and departure times are captured in real time to ensure complete transparency between the care worker and service user.
2) Reduction in travel time
If care workers no longer have to go to the office to collect and deliver their paper rosters this can immediately save an organisation an average of 30 minutes per care worker per shift**. Not having to stop to take calls to update paper rosters will also save a considerable amount of time during a care worker’s day. While many care workers have satellite navigation installed in their cars, it takes time out of a busy schedule for a care worker to input all of the addresses for the day. At the touch of a button or screen in the case of smartphones, a care worker can open a mapping application which is linked to their schedule. This has the ability to advise them of the quickest route and also informs of real-time traffic issues.
3) Ability to increase staff satisfaction
It’s no surprise that when employees feel valued they will be more positive in their work which will result in increased productivity.
Care workers do not choose their profession because they like spending time filling out forms. They want to provide the best care possible to the service users. Knowing that they have the full details of a service user’s preferences and care history available at their fingertips means that the care worker is able to offer a much more personalised visit. This could then be the difference between a care worker leaving the service user’s house feeling valued and appreciated or not.
With greater pressure on care workers to provide more care in less time, mobile technology can easily increase their productivity and as a result improve the service.
Increasing productivity is just one benefit which can be seen from implementing mobile technology, another is security whilst out in the community which will be covered in the next blog.