Nokia NFC technology improving the delivery of care in the home

Cardiff 07 November 2007CarePro, a Near Field Communication product helps providers of home based care services manage their domiciliary care staff more effectively, and provide better services to the people they care for. Providing care services to people in their own homes has now become the favoured option for delivering care, primarily to older people. This approach to care enables older people to stay in a familiar environment for longer, and avoid the disruption and expense of moving into residential care.

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Managing the delivery of home based services is itself a huge task for organisations such as care providers, charities, housing associations and local authorities. Tracking the movements of hundred's of mobile staff in the field, and providing staff with the latest information about the people they are caring for are just two of the many challenges facing care providers.

Until now technology solutions to these challenges have been costly to implement, or complex and time consuming for staff to use, especially if they have varying levels of IT ability. This is why CarePro has been developed in a unique partnership between the care and technology sectors, to provide real time management of field care teams.

CarePro uses the latest technology, but in a format which is extremely simple to use, and which is easily affordable. Care workers in the field can now provide digital proof of the time and type care provided to each client, eliminating time-consuming, paper-based reporting. Benefits are therefore realised centrally, as information and reports from the field can be fed into planning, billing, customer reporting and payroll systems and procedures. Because of the speed and ease-of-use of the technology, care workers can minimise their administrative tasks and concentrate on their core competences; overseeing the well-being of their clients.

The Nokia mobile phones used in the CarePro solution all have Near Field Communication (NFC) touch technology built in. Near Field Communication is a very short range two way wireless connectivity protocol based on RFID that can transmit and receive small amounts of data to and from your mobile phone to other devices. When the phone is used to 'touch' a small NFC tag located in the home, data is transferred in real-time to the on-line management application.

Touching a tag can also be used to trigger two way communications between the carer and their management team. For example, individual care instructions can be received and confirmed digitally at the point of care, ensuring consistent levels of service delivery.

"As well as the benefits for communication, management and improved delivery of care services, CarePro is also a commercially attractive proposition for care providers. NFC tags and mobile phones are both inexpensive, so can be implemented for hundreds of carers serving literally thousands of locations. Furthermore the CarePro application itself is managed using a simple on-line interface, so there's no investment in new IT infrastructure required. Roll out is swift and simple to achieve", stated John Chibnall, Business Development Manager at WELbeing.

CarePro is the first NFC dedicated management application to be developed for the United Kingdom home care sector, and is the result of an innovative partnership between two leading organisations from the care and technology sectors, WELbeing and Over-C.

Margaret Wright, Executive Director at South Wight Housing Association stated: "We are delighted to be one of the first to use this innovative technology in our domiciliary care teams. CarePro will aid staff to focus on our clients needs whilst enhancing our quality care delivery process, with less time spent in non-value activities."

CarePro is being made available through WELbeing, a not-for-profit company and National Health Service (NHS) PASA National Framework Agreement supplier. The service uses technology developed by Over-C, a provider of NFC applications working in collaboration with Nokia.

Michael Elliott, Managing Director of Over-C, commented: "CarePro represents a new generation of person focused home care services, made possible by the latest advances in mobile NFC technology. The partnership between ourselves and WELbeing will have a major impact in the transparency of the care delivery process throughout the United Kingdom."

WEL is a not-for-profit company created from a collaboration of two award-winning local authority Lifeline services - Wealden District Council Lifeline and Eastbourne Borough Council Lifeline, both established providers of high quality telecare and supported housing services for more than 20 years.

Today, WEL is an independent supplier of assistive technology solutions - telecare, telehealth and environmental control systems - and the only operator of a telecare response centre based in East Sussex. The company employs more than 30 people and serves a wide range of organisations and individuals across the South East. All the 'profits' WEL creates are ploughed back into the business and invested in the continuous improvement of services.

Over-C specialises in the design and development of advanced web application software tightly integrated with Near Field Communication mobile phones for businesses operating a mobile workforce in the service sector. As a provider of on-demand, internet based NFC applications the company helps companies large and small grow their businesses safe in the knowledge that staff are able to share information and data from anywhere at anytime.


Leslie Versweyveld

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