AgeCare vision on digital transformation

16 February 2024

 Dr Vishen Ramkisson

Dr Vishen Ramkisson

Founder and chief executive Dr Vishen Ramkisson explains how recent market entrant AgeCare UK is transforming its delivery of care through digitalisation.

Part of Canadian care home operator AgeCare, AgeCare UK was founded by practising GP and care home owner Dr Vishen Ramkisson in 2022.

Over the past 12 months, the UK business has undergone a major digital transformation programme at its nine, mostly paper-based care homes that were acquired in the South of England in February and July last year.

“We have been going through an ambitious digital transformation programme,” Ramkisson says. “With rising costs and financial pressures, we have to deliver efficiencies as quickly as possible. We have done things that in normal times would probably take care home operators three or five years to do.”

CoolCare has been adopted as the company’s core management software provider, and it also in the process of rolling out Person Centred Software’s digital care planning system. Compliance is managed through QCS and AgeCare has also adopted digital accounting, payroll and staff rostering systems.

“We don’t do anything with rotas on paper,” Ramkisson says. “We have digital clock-in also. It helps us understand where the gaps in shifts are so we can plan. If your lead systems and your rotas are all digitised you can straight away see who is available and who to call. All of our agency and bank staff are on our systems. They are clocked in and pushed into shifts electronically. Our agency use has come down dramatically.”

Additionally, Radar Healthcare’s incident management system is being rolled out with all systems stored securely on the cloud through Microsoft 365. AgeCare has also developed and is deploying its own in-house HR, maintenance, invoice approval and leave planning systems.

Integration with pharmacies through a digital medicine system has been rolled out at two care homes, and roll-out across the remainder of services will be completed by June this year.

All staff from deputy manager upwards are formally appraised digitally and AgeCare is also developing a digital skills training programme for all colleagues.

“I’d like to think AgeCare will be at the forefront of transforming the way care is being delivered in the UK. That is our mission statement,” Ramkisson says. “We are here to transform the delivery of care and make it more sustainable and environmentally friendly but also to give time back to residents.”

Financial controller, Nileshi Parbat, says: “These different types of software give us a great overview of the business at head office level. We can have them all under one umbrella and I can log in and see occupancy and which staff have clocked in or who has had training. That allows us to bring in efficiencies without interrupting the care that is given to the residents.”

Such rapid digitalisation does not come without challenges, however. Parbat noted it has been an “uphill struggle” at times to change the mindset of teams used to older systems and legacy processes.

Director of care, Jo Mason, who admits to have been a “real pen and paper person” and a “bit nervous” about digitalisation, says she’s now a convert.

“To be able to go onto my computer and see what’s going on in a home is fascinating,” she says “It’s current information. I haven’t got to stride around every home to see if it’s okay. I can see what is being flagged up and can call them to investigate.”

Ramkisson says technology had enabled real-time communication across the business.

“I have Teams briefing meetings where I can speak to all our line managers in real-time at the drop of a hat and ask them to share things with their teams,” he says. “It allows us to share great ideas across the business a lot quicker.”

Parbat agrees noting Teams technology can bring together activities team members who normally work separately to share best practice and ideas. Digital tech is also employed effectively to share good news and outstanding practice happening in homes every day through social media.

AgeCare has employed a dedicated in-house network and IT systems specialist, as well as a dedicated person to look after digital social care marketing and a specialist who regularly updates the company’s website.

Outlook

This year AgeCare will focus on cybersecurity and is also building an in-house AI chatbot to provide service information on its website which should be ready by the end of the year.

Finance director Ajay Mavinkurve notes “the early signs have been promising, the use of paper, printer ink and postage has reduced dramatically, key performance information is more accurate and timelier, and there’s the additional positive environmental impact which contributes towards ESG reporting.”

Describing the business as a “data company that delivers care services”, Ramkisson adds: “We will very shortly have a lot of data that we are collecting in a very structured way that we think will help us plan for the future. The way the CQC is changing we want to make sure we are ready. If they want data, we’ve got it and it’s structured and ready to go. We don’t want to have them question out of date or incorrect information.”

A digital evangelical, Ramkisson previously led NHS Digital’s national IT programmes and built the tech and data for the Covid-19 vaccines roll-out.

“You have to have the passion to move forward and look at how you can do everything better,” he says.

Ramkisson concludes by stressing technology adoption was “all about the quality of care we deliver”.

With two of its care homes rated Outstanding and the rest rated Good, AgeCare is well-placed to go from strength to strength on its digital journey.

 

See our recent article insert in Caring Times Magazine, February 2024 issue:
https://caring-times.co.uk/feature/care-for-tomorrow-digital-transformation/

 

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