June 21, 2019

Care Technology – the future landscape, John Cruickshank

As a Partner with IT health, I occasionally work with others on interesting projects.  I recently led an independent review of the care technology market, on behalf of Socitm Advisory, undertaken for Essex County Council.  By ‘care technology’ is meant any technology-related product or service designed to enable independence for disabled and older people, including telecare.  The report was published this week by Socitm and is available for download.

Based on interviews with commissioners, suppliers and industry associations, the ‘Care Technology Landscape Review’ shows that the market will be in considerable flux over the next 5 years. We classified the market according to the following framework:

We found some threat of disruption as UK telecommunications shift from analogue to digital, requiring commissioners to be actively engaged to ensure the safety of service users is not compromised.  Market consolidation of monitoring centres will continue, possibly even accelerate, due to the scale of investment required to migrate to digital.

It is also unclear which of the many digital telecare suppliers will be able to achieve scale, nor how quickly the industry will achieve open interoperability with health and social care data. Alongside this, potential uses of the data has attracted new players, including global technology companies, and is intensifying information governance and data ethics concerns.

For local authorities wishing to make strategic choices around care technology, our analysis of pioneer councils suggests a spectrum of four categories of (non-exclusive) commissioning models:

I very much agree with Socitm Advisory’s client director, Russ Charlesworth who highlighted how “care technology is already supporting changes in public attitudes towards more independent living and individuals taking better care of themselves. While the technology still has a long way to go, the care profession is also coming to terms with how technology enhances care rather than it substituting the human touch”.

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