How software can be used to improve the home care industry


19 Nov 2021

Dec Norton. Image: CareLineLive

CareLineLive’s Dec Norton discusses how management software tools can be used to improve the lives of home care workers and their patients.

Beyond the world of 3D printing and cutting-edge medical research, the front line of healthcare can also be improved with automation and software systems.

Dec Norton is director of development at CareLineLive, a UK-based tech company that provides cloud-based home care management software. Norton’s role is to ensure the company’s product is addressing the needs of its customers while also pushing innovation.

Future Human

“Home care agencies and their carers require tools that empower them to do their jobs more efficiently and make the day-to-day tasks easier. Ultimately, our goal is to allow carers more time to look after their vulnerable clients,” he told Siliconrepublic.com

“CareLineLive was in part born from an acknowledgement that for agencies and carers alike, rostering was a big part of their roles. A process that was traditionally paper based was inflexible and didn’t allow for last-minute changes.

“We created a platform that places rostering at the centre of our solution, offering care workers and admin staff access to an online rostering tool that would alert carers to any last-minute changes and one that did not require them to make constant journeys back-and-forth to the office.”

‘The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the update and appetite for technology’
– DEC NORTON

Are you spearheading any major product or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

In the summer we announced new features that provide vital insights on client wellbeing, as well as helping carers be more proactive with their interventions. We have also been actively extending and improving our suite of care planning tools, to help carers across all aspects of their role.

These new capabilities allow carers to easily record observations on their clients’ physical and mental welfare (for example, meals, fluid intake, blood pressure and glucose readings), meaning that carers can monitor their clients’ health effectively.

On top of this, carers can take images to log potential issues, as well as providing agencies with the ability to follow the correct procedures and to record any incidents, giving other stakeholders comprehensive information about any concerns reported.

Agencies and carers also have access to improved data insights from observations taken with the CareLineLive Carer Companion app. This will allow agencies to understand trends and foresee potential problems before they arise. Not only will this provide better person-centred care for clients, but it also will help to ease the burden on the NHS, with fewer older and vulnerable people needing to be hospitalised in emergency circumstances.

On top of this, offering document management to carers and administrators provides an automated process that saves time and allows exceptional care to continue. Automating rostering, payroll and medication records means that carers do not have to waste time with in-person contact updates and allows them to understand their workload and whether or not they have capacity to help with other clients.

Offering e-signatures and ensuring carers are reimbursed correctly all via one system is equally important and allows carers to concentrate fully on the job in hand.

How big is your team?

We’ve recently hired our 20th employee – after starting with a team of three at CareLineLive’s inception at the end of 2017. Our tech team is relatively small compared to some of the other players in the space, but I feel that keeping a small tight-knit team allows us to remain nimble when addressing the needs of our customers.

Outsourcing isn’t something we regularly entertain. It’s important to us that everyone that contributes to the platform has a good understanding of the context in which they’re building and has an opportunity to build relationships within the team.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation?

Although it’s been a difficult time in so many ways, I think the digital transformation we have seen in the past two years has been fantastic. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the update and appetite for technology, particularly when it comes to care management software, and I think we are at the beginning of a really positive journey.

The home care industry will gain more and more insight that will ultimately help clients, but also have positive effects on helping the NHS deal with pressures brought on by the pandemic and other seasonal illness.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

There are two big tech trends that stand out to me. The first is artificial intelligence and machine learning in enabling the interrogation of data. Before companies decided to automate and digitise, this wasn’t available. But with the volume of data now available, ensuring that it is both trustworthy and accurate is incredibly important. Being able to interrogate data makes processes more efficient.

Another tech trend that I believe has been transformative in recent years is the pervasiveness of wearable and IoT technologies. These have helped to address and recognise potential concerns in multiple areas. The data collected can offer health and care professionals useful and insightful information about patients, ultimately allowing those that care to offer the best care possible and ensuring that any subtle changes in a patient’s health are recognised and recorded.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

CareLineLive takes the security and privacy of its customers’ data very seriously. We are ISO 27001 and NHS DSP toolkit compliant, Cyber Essentials certified, and Homecare Association registered. People are at the heart of home care and for this reason we take the privacy of our users very seriously.

The CareLineLive system includes enhanced features, such as biometric authentication and device encryption, to ensure that the Carer Companion mobile app is as secure as possible. Equally, mobile device-managed smartphone handsets make sure that the devices can be remotely wiped and the app can be locked remotely if a handset is lost or stolen.

On top of this, the location of carers is monitored only for the instance when they’re either arriving or departing a care visit. The data of CareLineLive’s customers is GDPR compliant and all data is encrypted in transit and at rest, protecting against interception and unauthorised access. Penetration tests are run regularly to ensure that server hardware is secure and a full audit history is kept for actions performed in the software.

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