Pauline Umutesi takes us through the most recent launch of Lilli’s lifestyle monitoring technology in Gateshead and the importance of collaboration in the process
The health and social care system in the UK has been facing rising pressures over the last few years, with a chronic understaffing crisis, NHS backlogs, a disparity between systems and services, and a general underfunding of the system. With budget and staff resources at an all-time low, the deficit across both healthcare and social care needs to be addressed urgently, and transformation is now being called for by those working in every corner of the sector.
Lilli is evidencing across the country where digital-first solutions can help to drive this much-needed change. Health tech like remote monitoring technology can help by not only creating savings across time, cost and resources, but also preventing many people from going into hospitals and extra care facilities in the first place, helping to alleviate pressure from the system as a whole.
However, to successfully roll out new technology in this sector, it’s about understanding the varied and nuanced challenges organisations face and working with them to overcome them. Success with digital transformation does not come from a one-size-fits-all approach, but from working in close partnership to solve problems and find solutions for the long term.
Meeting Gateshead’s needs
Gateshead is one of the latest city councils to enthusiastically adopt proactive remote monitoring technology to resolve the resource challenges they are facing in adult social care. This month, after a successful deployment, Lilli is now active and operational with service users and social workers already benefiting from the unobtrusive proactive tech in their homes.
As a company, we take great care in how we deploy our technology to each new client. We understand that implementing new technology requires transformational change and ease of adoption, as well as positive engagement with all key stakeholders.
From scoping, briefing, and training through to installations, data management and ongoing support, the Lilli experience is designed to be accessible and enjoyable. Simplicity and understanding are key elements to our approach. We believe that anyone should be able to use it, and ensure that anyone can.
It’s important that as part of a new roll-out, we make sure that the people we work with at Gateshead are actively involved in the process and we aim to incorporate and address any of their individual concerns early on. Knowing and understanding the challenges they face is an essential part of our approach.
Overcoming the challenges
Across the three days of training with the teams at Gateshead City Council, staff told us their potential challenges and concerns. These are the concerns they identified and how we subsequently addressed them:
Connectivity issues or lack of wifi in some elderly users’ homes – many were concerned that technology could be rendered pointless if patients’ homes cannot connect to the internet.
How Lilli overcomes this challenge: Lilli sensors have been engineered to be cellular, making sure this wouldn’t be an issue. We connect the hub to the strongest available network provider. On top of that, the Lilli Hub has the option to connect to an ethernet cable if there is no service inside the person’s home.
Lack of tech support for some of the tech they have used in the past – recalling past experiences, teams shared that often they would be handed technology and systems without any training or instructions on how to use them and best utilise their capabilities.
How Lilli overcomes this challenge: We make sure this is never the case, as a key priority of integrating Lilli into a new organisation is ensuring it is not only understood by its utilisers and users, but that all parties are comfortable with it and can therefore get the maximum impact from the insights and analysis we provide. This is why we have a dedicated customer success team who deliver online and in-person, scoping, consultation, briefing and training sessions, and then continue their support and guidance post-launch for the duration of the contract.
Amount of referrals they get overwhelmed with – it is common knowledge that the healthcare system is overwhelmed with people needing assessments, waiting to leave hospital, or on hold in determining their next steps.
How Lilli overcomes this challenge: This is precisely one of the biggest issues Lilli was designed to resolve. Lilli can be implemented in many clinical pathways including D2A. The speed and quality of data can help professionals quickly assess the accurate level of care package required at any stage in the process; ensuring that service users get the exact amount of care they need, increasing capacity of care workers and speeding up referrals.
Culture shift – Some vocalised that older users may have suspicion around technology and privacy, so how this is articulated can really make a difference.
How Lilli overcomes this challenge: Our remote monitoring technology is designed to be discreet and unobtrusive. We don’t use cameras or voice recognition. A service user’s privacy is our top priority. We also provide assets and online resources to support care workers in giving reassurance to those who have concerns and their loved ones.
Properties with multiple occupancies or pets – a potential concern noted by one of the social workers at the training was how the Lilli sensors in someone’s home would know whose patterns are being detected.
How Lilli overcomes this challenge: In a home where a user does not live alone, whether with a partner or a pet, we understand that these relationships are symbiotic – Lilli will detect the patterns and establish the environment. So any shift in the overall environment can establish if there is an issue, and the sets of data provide the insights and analysis for care workers to ask the right questions. For example, even if the person playing the role of the carer in the environment changes their pattern of behaviour for a given reason, this can put the service used in danger too, as it can suggest that they are receiving less attention or the care they need.
By running open and collaborative full-team training, we are able to work together to engage a wide range of stakeholders early in the process. Once these important concerns had been addressed, we saw teams become much more reassured in how Lilli would meaningfully help them and their service users, helping to set them up for success.
While each organisation we partner with has different challenges and targets, being able to show examples of where Lilli has supported other councils with similar issues was important in the roll-out at Gateshead.
Sharing care stories from previous Lilli users and testimonies resonated strongly with the teams attending the training sessions and social workers who attended spoke about scenarios where the use of the remote monitoring data would have been useful in the past in their own decision-making.
Supporting proactive care
Packages of care will need adapting over time depending on the service user’s condition evolving, and the data from Lilli remote monitoring technology helps detect what patterns have changed and reveal where exactly a package could require revising. This ensures that the best, most suitable, and most efficient care possible is delivered.
This proactive approach to preventing a service user’s health from deteriorating, by identifying it early on, helps reduce admissions to hospitals, respite and residential care and ensures that people can remain safely at home for as long as possible in addition to avoiding any unnecessary burden on the wider healthcare system.
The Lilli platform is being continuously updated based on user feedback through our collaborative approach, to make sure care workers get this information in the way that makes it as easy as possible for them to understand and act on quickly. We will continue to provide ongoing support with insights and data to ensure Gateshead has a solution that works for them and their specific challenges now and in the future.
Looking to the future
It is early days at Gateshead City Council but we are confident that through working in partnership, we are able to help their brilliant teams improve outcomes and meet their specific targets of the programme, including addressing resource concerns.
In 2023, we have the digital solutions to so many of the system’s major issues at our disposal and the next steps are making sure we help organisations adopt them and utilise them optimally in order to help resolve one of the biggest problems of the decade.