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Innovation in elderly care: Collaborating with the technology sector

Early in July the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton hosted an event that brought together the elderly care sector and technology providers to discuss potential areas of collaboration (an overview of the event is available here).

This event highlighted the challenges that exist in the elderly care sector; decreased funding, increased regulatory pressure and ever growing demand and complexity of services from our ageing population.  Despite this, the elderly care sector has been slow to adopt new technology to alleviate these problems.

However, this event also hinted at the great potential of technology to improve the quality of life for elderly people and also the great commercial opportunity for well-designed technology solutions that could address these issues.

The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton and IoT UK partnered to deliver another event around this theme, this time providing a unique opportunity for elderly care providers to share insight around the challenges they face with technology providers. The goal of this event was to form collaborative relationships and begin conversations that could be the beginnings of new solutions.

We had attendance from throughout the care sector that included care home owners, domiciliary care providers, local councils and academics. We were lucky enough to be joined by a brilliant selection of guest speakers; Vic Rayner from the National Care Forum, who shared the challenges faced by the sector, Melissa Maczka of South East Health Technologies Alliance who spoke about how care providers can work with technology suppliers and the benefit of doing so. We also had Patrick Strauss from IBM and Mark Howells from Konnetis talk about implementing technology in an elderly care setting.

The participants on the day identified key challenges faced by the sector which included:

  • Staff recruitment and retention,
  • Real time communication,
  • How to improve the quality of home care and reduce the need for NHS visits,
  • Providing a good quality of care,
  • Giving the care sector access to and use of data insights.

** If you are interested in any of these areas either as a care provider or technology provider, you can join our Elderly Care and Technology LinkedIn group to participate in this conversation)

From these challenge areas we interrogated what impact they had upon a care provider’s ability to deliver care and what current work arounds were being used. The rest of the day was spent brainstorming new potential solutions to these challenges using technology. A range of different solutions we discussed including; wearables, beacons, machine learning and data-management solutions. We had some brilliant technology attendees including; KareInn, Hexology and coLab.

We used this approach, as here at the Digital Catapult Centre, we feel that great digital ideas develop from the collaboration between technologists, academics and the market, so any solution has consumer insights baked into the heart of it.

The event provided a brilliant springboard for these types of conversations with over 60 new collaborative relationships formed. There is a huge potential to continue these relationships in order to innovate and generate value from this sector.

The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton is keen to continue to facilitate this conversation with further activity and events. We will also be looking to host a technology provider as a resident here at the centre, whom which will receive access to expertise and resources, innovation support and be part of a collaborative working environment (for more information about this and to apply, please contact )

If you are an elderly health care professional or a technology provider with a solution or interested in this sector, please join our Linkedin community to participate in this conversation.

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