As one year ends and another begins, uncertainties are piling up for the care sector. The question is, what practical steps can be taken to restore as much control as possible to care brokerage and delivery?
Covid-19 remains a major source of health and operational risks. The vaccines coming through are great news. But we don’t know for sure what effect they will have on controlling the spread of the virus or how long it will take for enough people to receive them.
Service user demand is likely to increase and to change. Care homes may become a more acceptable option as more staff and residents are vaccinated. At the same time the numbers of people needing care in the community will probably increase due to the effects of the virus on long-term health.
What’s certain is that care providers will continue to struggle in a relatively unpredictable way with staff resources and unplanned absences due to Covid (and, of course, alongside the normal winter pressures).
Staff will need to be tested frequently, as will their colleagues. They could need to self-isolate at no notice because they test positive, have symptoms, know somebody with a positive test or because they get a notification from NHS Track and Trace.
Trading Care Packages
Staff resources are also under pressure because of Brexit. All of these pressures mean that care providers WILL sign up to deliver care packages in good faith and suddenly find they don’t have enough staff to deliver. What happens then?
Providers will rearrange their scheduling where possible. If they can’t, they will have to relinquish or ’trade’ the care package via the broker. All of this can take time – particularly when brokerage teams are working remotely using systems not designed for the purpose. Meanwhile, service users may be missing out on vital care!
To help cater for such extreme cases, Ulysses eBrokerage allows care providers to trade their care packages under the supervision of the brokerage team. The transfer of each package to an alternative care provider is managed in an efficient, real-time, online fashion with live status information on the placement of each package.
Technology Manages Uncertainty and Controls Risks
Across the brokerage and delivery ecosystem, efficiency and streamlined operations enabled by secure cloud technology will be essential. Otherwise there’s a real risk that uncertainty multiplies into risk levels that are unmanageable.
Secure online messaging is also part of the solution. In these Covid afflicted days it can be harder than usual to contact care providers. Their staff may not be in the office, they could be reluctant to use their mobile phone and text messaging is insecure.
Ulysses eBrokerage has built-in messaging enabling care providers to ask for clarification on a care package they have been offered via the system. Brokers and care providers are not restricted to using just office phone numbers and email – they can message online as well to speed up communications and place care packages faster.
When you factor in the efficiencies, eBrokerage is usually self-funding. It can be up and running for your brokerage team within two weeks. And it can be procured quickly through the G-Cloud 12 framework, via Ulysses eBrokerage Cloud Software.
To find out more, get in touch.