Investment in technology has far wider benefits than purely financial sustainability writes Debbie Collins.
TECHNOLOGY is one of the fastest moving industries on the planet and those unwilling to adapt and innovate, risk being left behind.
Nowadays, we can connect with loved ones on the other side of the globe at the click of a button, we can pay for our shopping with our phones and we can even tell ‘Alexa’ to put the lights on in our house.
Who would have thought ten years ago that it’d be the norm for us to take ‘selfies’ or use the best ‘filters’ to make sure our Instagram and Snapchat pictures show us in our best light?
At Blackwood, we put innovation at the heart of everything we do and know the positive impact it can have on the lives of our customers.
The annual Blackwood Design Awards, celebrate the brightest and best innovations to help people with disabilities live their life to the full.
Our pioneering CleverCogs™ system is a digitally enhanced care technology that enables people stay independent and in control of their own lives.
The touch screen home hub is installed in nearly 100 of our customers’ homes across Scotland and lets people stay in touch with family and friends through video chat, while they can also connect to the internet for things like online shopping and email.
Such has been the success of the Blackwood House development in Dundee, we are now planning the roll out of further developments across the country. The homes are fully integrated with technology as people living with a disability have the most to gain from technological advances.
Features such as pocket doors, electric blinds and rise and fall kitchen surfaces can all be controlled through CleverCogs™, meaning customers live in homes that work for them.
This year, our focus has been on spreading this success to other areas of the country, with plans to build 157 homes over the next five years. There are obvious challenges to this, namely the costs involved and how we develop it, however, it’s not just the bottom line that matters.
Tech is also revolutionising the way we provide support in our care homes thanks to the innovative Night Support Service (NSS). The service allows people with a wide range of disabilities to remotely access care to safely maintain their confidence throughout the night.
The Edinburgh pilot scheme has resulted in an estimated £400,000 of savings with a reduction in the number of GP visits and calls to 999.
Thanks to the Blackwood NSS, a centrally located staff team can answer video calls from customers with any concerns and from there, the experts can assess the situation just as they would do in person.
It’s a willingness to adapt and embrace cutting-edge technology that sets apart the care we’re able to provide customers and ensure that we are constantly enhancing the service we offer.
After all, the rest of the world is benefitting from a technology industry which is progressing at the rate of knots so it’s essential that the care sector does the same.
Debbie Collins has over 27 years’ experience in the Financial Sector and is Finance Director at Blackwood Housing and Care.
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