Technology in care


We have all heard of the industrial revolution which dates back to 1760.

Ever wondered what that would have been like for people at the time? New ways of working, new materials and the irreversible changes to manufacturing, travel and culture that followed.

Well perhaps we are living through a new revolution. The technical revolution.

The invention of the internet has created endless possibilities which even 30 years ago seemed hard to imagine. Technology is on the biggest charge ever and is once again changing the world as we know it. Some of this provides major challenges as well as wonderful opportunities.

For example, in recent years, we have seen the rise of robotic vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers which are all designed to make life easier, which equals less chores and more time for the enjoyable things, unless you like cutting the grass that is!

Not too many decades ago there were visions of flying cars and robots doing all our house work. I guess those items have not yet materialised, but other innovations are on the way. In the care sector, a future of robotic carers is closer than we may realise, in fact we are already exploring this ourselves here at Caremark with a new product called Genie.

The first thing to emphasise before we talk about ‘Genie’ is that robots will NEVER replace human carers. Care is so much more than a transactional interaction which requires human empathy and judgement; however, we can use technology to help and compliment the amazing work our care team deliver every day.

It is no secret that the care sector is under huge pressure to fill vacancies, retain staff as well as local authorities working with reduced budges with increased demand. This in part is thanks to medical science helping us all live longer lives. This is yet another fantastic human achievement nevertheless gives us a new challenge of how to make it all fit. At Caremark we certainly will never dilute the high standard of care everyone deserves. So, it is about first making the most of what we have and looking at new ways of working.

At Caremark we are investigating the merit of a new service called remote care using Genie. We decided to introduce the service in part because of the Covid-19 pandemic which left many of our customers feeling more isolated than normal, due to not being able to receive visits from friends or family. In addition we see the possible economic benefits and environmental paybacks.

Genie is a voice-activated robot which offers connectivity and support our clients.

Built by Bristol-based care technology company Service Robotics, the GenieConnect® service provides free video calling, welfare video monitoring with alerts, and entertainment, with the capability to do lots more in the future.

Loneliness has been a big issue over the last 15 months and whilst the country is in the final stages of fully re-opening, even without Covid-19, there are still many people who don’t have a local support network, and perhaps struggle to use something like a smart-phone or tablet to connect with their friends and loved ones.

With Genie, we bring ‘it’ into people’s homes, set it up for them and show them how to use it, so it effectively works on its own. That means people can see and talk to other via a large screen, listen to music and receive calls from our head office team checking they are ok, or issuing reminders, such as to take medication.

So, through using the technology, we can start reducing the amount of care needed, for example, we may agree to visit someone in person three times a week to provide personal care and in between this, they may then be content to use Genie to have a daily chat with a carer or to receive a reminder about medication or something else.

If we take a blended approach everyone could benefit from this extra help and support, whether it’s older people, children or people with learning disabilities, mental health or other complex needs.

The possibilities are literally endless, we’re excited to be at the forefront of innovation using technology to keep people stay connected and help bring the next revolution to our sector.

Visit our website to find out more about how remote care could help you or someone you know.