Appello TECS trends guide image

Appello has published a new guide, which identifies six significant trends for technology enabled care services (TECS) in 2021.

TECS refers to the use of a broad range of health and care technologies, such as telecare, telehealth, telemedicine and environmental controls, in providing care for patients with long-term conditions that is convenient, accessible and cost-effective. These technologies facilitate remote care, virtual appointments, digital connectivity and information, which empowers people to manage their own health, while freeing up clinicians’ time by enabling remote monitoring.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the widespread implementation of TECS across health, housing and social care due to the need for reduced face-to-face contact. This means that the use of technology to keep people safe, well and connected has never been more important.

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Appello’s new guide – ‘Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) trends you will see accelerate in 2021’ – is the third in a series from Appello highlighting the changing landscape for the delivery of TECS. It builds on interviews and independent research undertaken with the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) of 120 senior executives from providers of supported, sheltered and retirement housing.

The guide predicts six key TECS trends for 2021, building on key learnings from 2020 and independent research undertaken with Housing LIN.

According to Appello, the six key TECS trends that will accelerate in 2021 are:

1. Digital crowned champion

The guide says that digital means faster, safer and more reliable TECS than previous analogue systems. It notes that adoption will be driven by the ongoing digitalisation of the telecoms networks.

However, according to Appello, whilst the previous focus on the benefits of digitally enabled services highlighted better two-way communication, faster call connection times to monitoring centres and the capacity for multiple simultaneous calls from developments, housing providers are now starting to realise many more possibilities of digital services.

This includes enabling staff to work from home, whilst maintaining visibility of property and customers, as well as facilitating remote communication with customers. Appello says this remote communication has been essential where face-to-face contact has reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure residents still get social interaction, whilst minimising risk of transmission.

2. Smart homes will build from digital foundations

The second TECS trend predicted to accelerate in 2021 is the implementation of more smart homes.

Building on digital foundations, Appello says housing providers will start integrating a host of exciting new technologies, ensuring older people will be much better placed to manage their own environment. This might include home automation, such as the ability to open blinds remotely or to turn on lights from another room.

The guide highlights that the ability to monitor the temperature of resident’s home will be particularly important as winter approaches.

3. Data will drive decision intelligence

Furthermore, Appello underlines that for housing providers to excel, it’s important for them to collect the data from their TECS and analyse it to make appropriate decisions for residents.

The guide adds: “In 2021, we will see a shift towards housing providers wanting greater access to data, presented in an easily digestible manner. Additionally, we will see organisations look to further understand how they can embed data into their processes, to create insights and make informed decisions that improve the lives of customers.”

4. Collaboration will drive innovation

In addition, the guide says that the common requirement amongst housing and care providers to transition to digital TECS creates the perfect opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing. As a result, the fourth TECS trend Appello predicts for 2021 is collaboration in the housing sector.

Appello suggests that organisations within the housing sector work together, share resources and innovate to provide a better service for residents. This will result in the breaking down of silos and more streamlined TECS.

5. Cloud is a given

Another trend that Appello expects to accelerate in 2021 is an increase in cloud-based platforms.

The guide notes: “Cloud hasn’t been something that TECS had fully embraced until very recently. While having an on premise or hosted TECS solution in a pre-COVID world might have been common, we will see an acceleration to cloud-based platforms going into 2021.”

According to Appello, a mix of the following is driving adoption of cloud-based platforms within the TECS space: the need for remote monitoring for housing providers during COVID-19; scalable systems, ensuring flexibility for both residents and staff during the pandemic; and robust services, as cloud services ensure less downtime and can help responses to service failures.

6. Flexible payment models will gain traction

As there is a growing need to invest in TECS, flexible payment models will become important, as investing in the technology can be expensive, Appello notes.

The guide states: “There will be a growing trend amongst housing providers who are determined to provide their customers with the technology and service they deserve, however find the initial capital investment a challenge. Procuring TECS through a subscription based delivery model will enable customers to embrace the latest technology.”

Due to the financial uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, the guide ascertains that more flexible payment options will enable housing providers to deliver the services they need to residents.

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