The care industry has experienced significant culture changes following the drive to support independent living and provision of care in the community. These changes driven by the government have also placed significant challenges on our work practices.
As care provider organizations look to improve service delivery and provide the auditable evidence that satisfies national and local performance targets, many are now looking to increase deployment of mobile technology to further enhance service provision.
For many years the mobile phone as a delivery device was somewhat ignored. By comparison care service providers in developing countries began to understand the advantages of the mobile phone and the expansion of wireless networks offered the opportunity to deliver services to low – and middle income countries.
As of May 2008, the number of global mobile phone subscribers has grown to over 3.4 billion and is projected to grow to 5.2 billion by 2011. Mobile technologies therefore enable Telecare providers to decentralize and extend their reach to remote settings as well as to individual members with a comparatively smaller investment in technology infrastructure.
As technologies go, mobile phones are flexible and familiar for the end user and currently GSM and 3G based CDMA networks provide coverage to homes, workplaces, and even remote rural areas.
In the short term questions still persist about the future form developing mobile technologies will take but there is no doubt that the capabilities of today’s Smartphone’s (e.g. the Apple iPhone or Nokia N95) to download applications when Home health skilled nursing (SN) software required will become more affordable and therefore more easily accessible over time.
GPRS, Edge, and even 3G data services are now available on many mid-price mobile phones and the integration of mapping technologies GIS and GPS with mobile technologies lets users “tag” voice and data communication to a particular location or series of locations effectively providing the potential of extending Telecare and Lone Worker service delivery far beyond the confines of the home. New broadband access technologies (e.g. WiMAX) offering enhanced web, e-mail and voice over internet (VoIP) services at a fraction of the cost of current 3G technology and Wireless Long Distance [WiLD] providing broadband over distances of up to 200kms from a single source.