Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council Pilots Mobile Working For Home Carers

TCO (part of CACI Ltd.) and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council Home Care Service (BMBCHCS) have partnered to develop a mobile working solution, called inTOUCH, for frontline home carers. The partnership aims to develop a single mobile solution to help improve the quality of care delivered. All key stakeholder groups including the care commissioner, the care worker, the service provider and the service user, will benefit from inTOUCH.

Other drivers behind this partnership include:
– The ability to quickly alert care coordinators to missed, late or abortive visits for the most vulnerable service users
– The need to improve communication between care coordinators and frontline home care workers
– Increased service efficiencies and improved quality of management information
– Improved safety of lone workers
– Dynamic rostering, elimination of the paper roster or time sheet and more flexible and effective delivery of care
– Maximisation of resource usage, minimisation of over utilisation and better management information
– Automated payroll and billing and integration with financial systems
– Accurate proof of service delivery

inTOUCH uses a pda or ‘smart phone’ and a carefully designed application to connect the home carer to TCO’s OfficeBase roster and scheduling system. This provides the carer with access to a ‘real time’ roster detailing each visit, with changes to services immediately communicated.  inTOUCH also opens channels of communication between the home carer and care coordinator that have not previously been possible, streamlining and improving delivery of care.

Both home carers and the unions were fully involved in the design and development of the solution from the early stages. As a result, the project has full backing from the unions and the buy in from all parties using the service.

This project is at the heart of the government ethos (Gershon) for local government. It addresses one of the Department of Health’s (DoH) key areas of focus for electronic monitoring of home care, through the Care Services Efficiencies Delivery (CSED). inTOUCH also promotes compliance with the Care Standards Act.

As a result, inTOUCH will significantly increase both TCO and BMBCHCS’ profiles within the Home Care market. BMBCHCS is already sharing the development with the DoH, having recently hosted a CSED Workshop in Barnsley.

Paul Higginbottom, BMBC Home Care Service Business Manager, said: “Our inclusive approach has resulted in a product designed by carers for carers, which is helping to win the hearts and minds of our workforce. We aim to make the technology available to our independent home care providers, so that all service users and home carers in Barnsley can benefit.”

Kevin Sparks, TCO Business Unit Director commented: “Once again, we are proud to demonstrate that real benefits can be gained for all stakeholders by working in a true partnership with our customers. We are committed to moving the homecare agenda forwards with meaningful and practical solutions.”

The TCO mobile working solution is currently in phase three of the Pilot and planned to go live at Barnsley in October 2006.