It’s almost impossible to open a UK newspaper without reading the negative headlines about the UK’s adult social care sector. The challenge of funding care for an ageing population and the impact of the social care bottleneck on the NHS are issues that resonate with all of us.
When I started following this crisis, I had no experience in the home care sector. But I’m an entrepreneur who builds technology businesses to solve real world problems, and I couldn’t help reading the headlines of an entire industry on the brink of collapse and ask myself “so what’s the problem here?” As I looked into it with my co-founder Devika Wood, I started to understand that the care industry is in structural decline because it operates with an outdated, high cost operating model – system of pen and paper and phone calls, run by armies of back office workers resulting in high operating costs and little money left to compensate the carers appropriately.
This is a problem begging for a better business model to transform the industry through the smart use of technology. Devika and I set out to build a technology platform that lets technology do the things technology is good at (tracking, flagging, analysing) and frees up people to do the things people are good at (connecting, overseeing and caring). And Vida was born.
Vida is a care technology platform that streamlines the social care process to ensure the service is efficient from end-to-end. First, Vida’s back office platform manages the majority of the complex logistics involved with running a care agency. Our proprietary algorithm matches the best carers for each client, appointments and late arrivals are automatically flagged so they can be addressed, and analytics of care delivery are available on demand. Second, our carer app helps carers track their appointments, access clients’ care plans and update client profiles, automatically flagging concerning issues to our central care managers. Third, the client app will allow the next of kin to manage their loved one’s well-being and care plan and have greater transparency and real-time information on the care provided.
Vida is the first tech-enabled care provider to receive a stamp of approval from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and currently operates with private clients in London. We are in conversations with councils and local authorities across London to work with them to help solve the social care crisis facing the country.
The CQC has found that “over 40% of care and nursing homes and home care services have problems with safety,” with one of the main reasons cited for this being the carers’ and nurses’ “lack of skills.” After interviewing over a100 carers, we realised that the poor training and undervalued carers are central to the industry’s problems. So we set out to design our business model to take out unnecessary back office costs and channel those savings towards making sure our carers receive industry-leading training, are paid well above industry standards and feel valued and supported.
One area councils have highlighted to us is the importance of strong care managers and the support and oversight they provide for carers. They have asked us how our technology can impact such a people-centred business. The answer is that we are designing a smart system to automatically flag areas that require attention, freeing up our outstanding care managers to direct their attention where it’s needed, rather than operating essentially blindly as in the current dated care industry business models. Our technology will offer increased access to and transparency of information and ensure the care experience is more efficient for both those providing care and for those receiving it.
In addition to our carer app, which provides the carers with the window into Vida’s technology platform, we also provide clients and next-of-kin with an app to help them stay informed and manage the care they are receiving. Family members are able to see when carers were present, what care was provided and if the carer has flagged any issues of concern. Putting this kind of real-time information into the hands of clients and their families can help revolutionise an industry where too much critical information is trapped on paper. We expect real-time updates from Amazon and British Airways. Why don’t we expect it from the people who are taking care of our loved ones? Real-time communication and unlocking opportunities to identify and act on potential issues are at the heart of Vida’s value for individuals and families.
How Vida works
Vida’s mission is to deliver a sustainable solution for care. Superior care, industry leading training, a personalised end-to-end service, and technology to streamline these processes, are the four pillars upon which Vida was founded and this is reflected in the care we deliver.
We are currently recruiting people who share our vision, that technology has a key role to play in creating a new model of care for the social care industry. For more information, visit www.vida.co.uk and follow us @VidaOfficial_