Care must embrace digital. That’s the message coming through from the government, the NHS, and regulators. Getting from point A to Z of your digital transformation project has never been easier. Our roadmap provides you with clarity and a checklist of the most important milestones to hit on your journey.
Before embarking on a digital transformation project, residential care homes will have a higher rate of success if they begin with a detailed project plan, and more importantly a project roadmap. Transitioning to a digital care model is a complex process, requiring care homes to get buy in for the project, assess their readiness, map their digital transformation strategy to existing strategies and implement the right digital transformation technology tools.But don’t worry - we’ll walk you through it, and take you through the key important stages and milestones in a digital transformation project.
What is digital transformation and why does it matter?
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a care home, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to your residents and employees.
Digital transformation done well drives efficiency, improves productivity and service delivery in your care home.
What are the benefits of successful digital transformation for care homes?
Residential care homes are often very reliant on paper-based processes. From care plans, to shift plans and risk assessments, to safeguarding reports and health assessments, there is inherently a lot of paperwork involved in the day to day running of a care home business, and given that there wasn’t previously an alternative to physical documentation, many have continued to operate with traditional processes.
However, a heavy reliance on paper can cause a lot of problems. If essential paperwork is not completed and filed in a timely and correct manner, this can lead to standards of care slipping and concerns being raised by the CQC. As a result, forward-thinking care home operators have begun their digital transformations by implementing cloud-based software.
Residential care homes can also save time and money by digitising the way they organise their shifts. And we’re not talking about using WhatsApp messages. A cloud-based workforce management tool can save between half-a-day to a day’s work calling temporary workers to fill shifts, reduce the use of agency staff and save time and money on staffing and related admin tasks.
It’s safe to say that modernising care home businesses by going digital can have a host of wide-reaching benefits for all of those involved.
Getting Started: Phase 1
Define Value and Gather Knowledge
Estimated time: 1 - 3 months
Research and review existing strategic plans and current business state
Understand business needs and find gaps
Secure senior management commitment and buy in
Secure project resources and team
Set clear, ambitious and tangible goals
Align on goals and objectives
This stage involves gathering as much data as possible to understand how the care home operates, including the resources used by your care home. It’s important to review existing corporate strategic plans, IT strategic plans, organisational charts and any other documentation that describes how the organisation operates.
Digital transformations often fail when they try to do too much too soon so this is also the stage where you’ll need to secure buy-in because the buy-in process will help define the project’s scope. Your business case should be based on getting early results and it must have the support of your people. See our workbook which includes a series of exercises to set you up to successfully build a business case that will get you the project buy-in you need. The business case workbook will aid you in setting clear, ambitious and achievable goals and support you in your goal of securing investment.
Understand the Landscape: Phase 2
Estimated time: 2 - 3 months
Carry out readiness assessment
Shortlist technology options for management approval, funding and procurement
Prepare Digital Strategy, brief senior leaders and staff
Don’t begin this phase without carrying out a digital transformation readiness check. A readiness assessment will help you identify quick wins and drive implementation for steady growth and wins. It will also help you identify any weaknesses or gaps standing in between your present state and your future state prior to beginning your transformation project.
Creating a business case would require you to identify the systems and technologies, network resources and migration activities needed for a successful transformation.
Your project plan is approved and launched at the tail end of this stage. Vendor activities usually begin at this stage. Employees will prepare to phase out old ways of working for new, more digitally savvy ways of working. This step is one of the most important in the roadmap because it gathers all the threads together and moves the program forward.
Implement and Evangelise: Phase 3
Estimated time: Months to years
Start with low-risk, high-reward lighthouse projects
Deliver in phases
Appoint a launch team with digital evangelists
Organise to promote new, agile ways of working
Nurture a digital culture
The best advice we can give for this stage is to look for the quick wins, so called lighthouse projects, and focus first on smaller projects delivered in phases. Focusing on projects that offer potential for significant rewards with manageable risk, will help you win early support. Such projects could include digitising staff scheduling, which saves time on getting vacant shifts filled and improves staff wellbeing by giving them clarity over their schedule. Cost savings can be as high as 40 percent, and effectiveness, measured in return on investment, can rise by as much as five percentage points.
Securing a team of innovative people whose mandate is to get your employees on board with digital transformation in your care home, is also a key milestone in this stage. They’ll be pivotal in helping to nurture a digital culture in your business and in encouraging your employees to embrace digital ways of thinking and working.
Scale Up: Phase 4
Estimated time: Continuous
Build up skill set and capabilities within the business
Adopt a new digital first operational model with new workflows
Focus on digitising specific areas of the business that keep the core business running smoothly like scheduling
During this stage, you should have a handful of initiatives up and running which are starting to demonstrate value. Gartner dubs this stage the “Continuous Next” - the stage where your care home will need to keep up with continuous change driven by technology. Close attention will need to be paid to building more capabilities and skillset within the organisation so that employees can keep pace with both the new ways of working and the even newer ways of working to come.
A huge internal training job will be needed too. The care home’s leaders will need to understand IT’s strategic value and it will be important to help all employees rethink the way they work, as the end result of a digital transformation is the establishment of a business-wide agile operating model.
To reap the full rewards of a transformation, eventually an entirely new operating model will also be required.
Continuously focus on digitising specific areas of the business that keep the core business running smoothly.
The benefits of successful digital transformation are vast and can include anything from improved communication and efficiency to increased resident satisfaction.
But don’t just take our word for it! Check out some of these case studies that demonstrate the success of digital transformation in care homes.
If you want more information or are ready to start your own journey towards digital transformation, contact us today! We have a wealth of experience helping care homes achieve their workforce management goals through digitisation.