Covid 19 has transformed the way we deliver social services. Social care professionals are turning to innovative ways of working to address key challenges which have been magnified by the pandemic. This includes addressing rising levels of demand and social isolation against a limited budget. However, increasing digital confidence has offered a range of possibilities to people. View Microsoft’s perspectives on Public Health and Social Services to see how professionals are using tech to empower people to live with dignity and independence in this ‘new normal’. Let’s get started with 3 ways tech can help:
- Better engage citizens with inclusive-design. Seeing AI is free Microsoft app for iOS to empower people who are blind or who have low vision. The camera app uses “channels” or modes , to read printed text, currency, and describe physical objects, product labels and colours, among other things. Microsoft is expanding Seeing AI support to include English, Dutch, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. Developed by people with lived experience of visual impairment, it’s a great example of the benefits of co-design
- Help prevent escalating care needs. Monitoring whether someone has had a fall or not is nothing new. Predicting whether their risk of falling is increasing is a much newer capability. With the estimated number of deaths in adults relating to falls in the EU estimated at 36k per annum pre pandemic (and therefore pre-deconditioning), there are compelling reasons to redouble efforts to get ahead of the curve and start predicting these things before they happen. One great example is ARMED from Technicare: ARMED: Prevention Technology – ARMED Falls Prevention (armedprevention.co.uk). The Dumfries and Galloway Health and Care Partnership has seen a 60% reduction in reported fall related incidents following 3 months use of the ARMED solution – among a cohort who had all experienced a fall in the previous 6 months.
- Connect communities. The pandemic has exacerbated challenges around loneliness. The health impact of social isolation is reported to be just as harmful to health as obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Organisations such as North Yorkshire County Council, and The Tribe Project are using data insights to connect communities and support individuals at high risk from Covid in practical ways. The Council is now looking at building on this initial footprint to manage other challenges. For example, how it supports people in need of care who live in very rural places to connect with local people who can support them.
The responsible use of data and technology can help us meet the demographic challenges we face. More importantly it can restore independence to individuals and vibrancy to communities. Find out how Microsoft can help empower your services today.
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