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Innovation for the elderly: Stockholm’s care providers go mobile

Innovation for the elderly: Stockholm’s care providers go mobile

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - (HealthTech Wire / News) - Homecare services for the elderly in the city of Stockholm are provided by around 5,000 care workers who are employed by either one of 30 public care units or by one of the around 100 private care providers. Together, the public and the private sector share responsibility for around 30,000 elderly customers who are visited on a daily basis by the homecare service.

“The idea to use a mobile documentation solution for both public and private providers of care for the elderly was mooted years ago,” recalls Stefan Carlson, Head of Technical Development and Administration at the city of Stockholm′s IT department. After a public procurement process, an agreement was reached with Tieto in 2007 to provide a Stockholm-wide mobile communication service. The goal was to make life easier for care workers and care providers and to give relatives access to  various  eServices that are provided via the city′s website.

Benefits for users, customers and administration

“Today there are nearly 2,000 smart phones out there that are being used on a daily basis,” says Carlson, who presented the Stockholm′s homecare solution in a session during this year′s World of Health IT conference in Copenhagen. The smart phones are equipped with the ParaGå software based on a Tieto standard product. ParaGå communicates via mobile network with the provider′s documentation system, ParaSol, and also with the ParaPly system, the documentation system used by the municipal authority.

Application Manager, Social Care, for the city of Stockholm, Carina Lindquist, sees various benefits for the mobile documentation solution. Care workers, for example, now receive the information they need much quicker: “The quality of documentation has improved. It is much more efficient to take care of the documentation directly at the customer′s home.” Unnecessary driving is also reduced. Every care worker can access the day′s schedule immediately, without having to drive to the office first.

Care workers save a considerable amount of time, which means there is more time for the customer and there is much less of a rush to get things done. The fact that all relevant information is now digital also makes it possible to offer eServices to the elderly or their relatives. The care documentation can be accessed via a secure web connection, so that relatives, for example, can see exactly what care was provided and when. Finally, the managers of the care unit are also happy. It takes less time for them to create necessary reports about homecare.

Next step: extend the solution to medical care

“Getting to that stage hasn′t always been easy,” Carlson admits. There were concerns in the beginning about too much control and too much documentation. But control is no longer an issue, since users have realized that it is in fact an advantage to be able to show exactly who they have visited and how often. All in all, Carlson and Lindquist reckon that mobile documentation in the care of the elderly is a big success. Carlson: “We are now planning to offer this in medical care as well. And we are planning to add new features like the eKey, a solution that uses the mobile phone as an electronic key to open the doors of homecare customers′ homes without having to carry a key chain all the time.”

A number of technical updates are also on the horizon. At the moment, all care workers are using a Windows 6.5-based Motorola smart phone to use the service. This will change. The plan is to develop an app-like solution both for the iOS and Android platforms that can be downloaded on whatever smart phone is chosen. This will in turn give more flexibility and save money for the city.

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Source: HealthTech Wire

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