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Role technology plays as a resource in service delivery and service management

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to evaluate the use of different technologies within your own service provision by yourself, people in receipt of services, team members and other stakeholders.

The last two decades have seen a meteoric rise in the use of technology as a resource in health and social care. Computer systems, networking (including the Internet), mobile phones and apps as well as assistive technologies are transforming the way care services are designed and delivered (Transforming social care through the use of information and technology, 2016). This publication from the Local Government Association (LGA) also highlights five key themes where technology is having a positive impact on care services. They are:

  1. Integrating services and information for children, families and adults
  2. Enabling people to interact with care services through digital channels
  3. Promoting independence and wellbeing through the use of digital services and technology
  4. Integrating commissioning through the improved use of information and analysis
  5. Enabling care professionals to work from any base at any time

Role of technology for yourself

As a manager, technology can help you to obtain better data, information and intelligence for guiding your decision-making processes. For example, if your organisation has purchased a digital care management system, you will be able to pull reports from different areas of operations, such as medication errors, incidents and accidents, complaints and safeguarding concerns. You may also use systems to track the skills and qualifications of your care force or finance and budgeting software. Having this information available at the touch of a button can help you to identify patterns that may inform the priorities of where resources are allocated.

Of course, to make sound decisions from this information, the data must be accurate, so you will need to promote the importance of making reliable updates to records to the rest of the workforce. There may also be some resistance to change, particularly if you are moving from a paper-based system, which you will have to manage effectively.

Knowledge and training must also be provided to the workforce in the use of technology and the importance of security (e.g. not sharing passwords). This will help to ensure that confidential information remains secure and is only accessible by authorised persons.

Role of technology for people in receipt of services

Technology can help individuals receiving care to keep in contact with others as well accessing services online. It is now possible to view records from your GP over the Internet as well as book appointments and download apps that can support health and wellbeing (such as the NHS’s Couch to 5K app).

Whilst technology can be very useful, there are dangers that individuals (particularly vulnerable adults) need to be aware of. As part of your safeguarding responsibilities, you may decide to allocate resources to the provision of workshops that can make individuals aware of the risks and keep themselves protected. This could be an in-house workshop or one provided by a local community resource.

Individuals may use assistive technology to overcome challenges with accessing technology. For example, an individual that is visually impaired may use a screen magnifier or text-to-speech software on their computer or a hearing impaired individual may use subtitles when watching videos on Youtube.

Role of technology for team members

As mentioned earlier, your team members will need to be trained in the use of technology, which should be a cost consideration. In addition, training may be carried out online.

Technology may be used to access information about service users as well as recording information about them.

It may also be a communication tool – phone calls, texts, email and zoom meetings may all be used by your organisation. You will also need to consider if employees will be expected to use their own computers or phones or if they will be provided by your organisation.

Role of technology for other stakeholders

Other stakeholders could include the service user’s family, advocates and professionals such as GPs, nurses and social workers.

For example, the family of individual’s receiving care services from you may be able to remotely access up-to-date records about their loved one’s care package.

Putting it all together

The examples given here will hopefully help you to identify the technologies that are used within your own organisation so that you can evaluate the role they play as a resource in service delivery and service management. This will mean critically analysing the impact of technologies, including arguments about their strengths and weaknesses before forming conclusions about their importance.