What is Technology Enabled Care?
03 January 2024
Technology Enabled Care – also known as TECS - involves using digital tools and software solutions to deliver improved healthcare services.
These telecare services can support and enhance more traditional in-person services to help make healthcare more convenient and accessible for patients, and more efficient and cost-effective for providers.
From electronic personal health records to remote patient monitoring, we’ll explore the impact of TECS on healthcare delivery and patient engagement, plus discuss the benefits and challenges associated with TECS implementation.
Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS)
TECS encompasses a range of healthcare services, delivered using a variety of technology options. Integrated telehealth care systems allow care teams to monitor an individual's health and well-being from a distance and connect patients with clinicians for treatment when necessary.
Some of the telecare services available in the UK include:
- Personal health records
Electronic personal health records like Graphnet Health’s myCareCentric allow patients to securely access, manage and update their own health data.
This empowers individuals to be more actively involved in their health management and care planning, as well as enhancing the quality of the integrated care record.
Real-time data sharing allows care providers to monitor the patient’s progress – delivering more personalised care and timely interventions that can improve health outcomes.
- Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote monitoring enables healthcare professionals to remotely monitor a patient’s health in real-time, increasing the clinician’s capacity and improving patient outcomes.
These remote solutions allow chronic patients to remain in their own home. They can be used to support a variety of conditions, including respiratory, cardiac, diabetes, motor neurone disease and cancer symptoms.
The use of virtual ward solutions can also help reduce pressure on hospital beds, allowing post-operative patients to be treated at home using sensors, alarms, and other devices that monitor changes in the home environment or the individual's health status.
- ePROMs (Electronic Patient-Reported Outcome Measures)
ePROMs allow care providers to collect information directly from patients about their health, symptoms and well-being.
Patients can capture and submit ECG and breathing rates through easy-to-use medical devices that are supported by self-assessment questionnaires, secure text messaging services, and video consultation capabilities.
This data is subsequently accessible through the clinician's portal, providing a holistic and well-rounded view of the person and helping professionals make better informed decisions about their care.
- Wearable Devices
Actively engaging patients in their own care increases the chances for early detection of new or escalating conditions.
Wearable devices – such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, glucose meters and more – allow patients to monitor their vital signs, physical activity, and other health-related metrics. This data can also be linked to the individual’s personal health care record.
4 Benefits of Technology Enabled Care
Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) offer a range of benefits for individuals, healthcare providers, and the healthcare system as a whole.
Here are 4 key advantages:
- Improved Independence: TECS can empower individuals, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, to live more independently. For instance, by implementing fall detection devices, telehealth services and virtual ward solutions, elderly people can continue living at home for longer, with a higher level of safety and support.
- Efficient Healthcare Delivery: Telecare services can streamline healthcare delivery by reducing the need for frequent hospital visits and minimising unnecessary healthcare interventions. The technology allows professionals to track progress, allocate resources more efficiently, and proactively intervene to see patients before conditions worsen.
- Increased Access to Healthcare: TECS can help in providing healthcare services to people living in remote or underserved areas. Virtual consultations and remote monitoring can expand access to medical expertise, particularly in areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals.
- Preventive Care and Early Intervention: Authorised technology-enabled care solutions can track patients' health conditions in real-time. This proactive approach can improve early detection of issues, help prevent the progression of chronic conditions, enable timely interventions, and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.
The challenges of TECS
While telehealth solutions can offer many benefits, they also pose various challenges. To overcome these, clinicians, policymakers and technology suppliers must work together to develop effective solutions that are inclusive of different demographic groups.
- Digital Exclusion and Inequality
A significant challenge in implementing TECS is the unequal access to technology, particularly for people in rural or low-income areas who are statistically more likely to experience digital exclusion and health inequalities.
As health technology becomes more common, it's crucial for organisations to make sure that those who aren't digitally connected – for any reason – aren't left behind and are still able to access care.
- Digital Literacy and Training
Another challenge is that not everyone is comfortable with using technology. Lower levels of digital literacy can make it harder for people to adapt to new health technologies. Bridging this gap is crucial as it’s often older people, who have increased healthcare needs, that struggle most.
Graphnet solutions are user-friendly and offer clear accessibility options, but organisations might also consider offering free educational programmes to cover basic digital skills, online safety, and training for using technology-enabled care services.
- Resistance to Change
Both healthcare professionals and patients may resist the addition of new technology to their established routines, due to unfamiliarity, skepticism or concerns about data security.
Addressing these concerns through education, training and involving stakeholders in the implementation process can help overcome resistance to change.
Graphnet Health TECS solutions
Graphnet Health offers various Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) solutions designed to facilitate virtual care and remote patient care pathways.
These integrated systems combine data from healthcare providers, digital tools like wearables, and the patients themselves – enabling communication across clinical teams and engaging patients in their own care planning.
- Using our population health management platform and data held within the CareCentric Shared Care Record, clinicians can identify and contact the patients who may benefit most from remote monitoring and other technology enabled care services.
- Based on their specific needs, patients can share real-time information with their care teams through digital questionnaires or wearable devices. This might include blood pressure or oximetry readings, changes to their mood, or other symptoms.
- The collected information is then accessible to relevant and authorised health professionals via interactive dashboards that highlight any changes, allowing for the timely escalation of care levels when necessary.
With the help of digital technology solutions, healthcare providers can deliver patient-centered, evidence-based care that not only responds to immediate concerns but also anticipates and addresses future health challenges.
This can reduce avoidable hospital admissions and improve patient outcomes – which, in turn, helps reduce the pressure on our healthcare systems.
For more information on TECS and our services, please contact the Graphnet team today.