The Covid-19 crisis and Techforce19

It will not have escaped anyones attention about the many issues being caused by the Covid-19 crisis both here in the UK and around the world. The NHSx has appealed to Tech companies to help in the following areas with the dramatic rise in need:

  • Remote Social Care
  • Optimising Staffing in Care and Volunteering Sectors
  • Mental Health

The team at Col8 decided they wanted to look at ways our current solutions could be used to help, they decided the "Remote Social Care - Delivering domiciliary care and technology in the home" would be a good area for us to look in to.

We have published this article as the starting point for a conversation, the team at Col8 are not experts in these fields but believe we have the ability to do something to help so we welcome any comments or feedback, you can email Charles, the CEO directly here:

Where to start?

With only a week to go from concept to proposal we needed to engage organisations quickly in a new market for us. This takes the super powers of a phone savvy business development manager!

After getting through to a number of domiciliary care providers we picked out a few key issues and trends that the current crisis is making especially painful.

  • Demand - With the major part of this crisis being self isolation, in particular for the most vulnerable, there is an explosion in demand for care outside of hospitals. 
  • Recruitment - This market has historically high staff turn over like many service industries but now a large additional demand for new carers.
  • Trust - This came up many times in different forms. From trust of patients seeing lots of new carers, the trust from families that their loved one they can no longer visit is ok, through to trust that care is being delivered it to the highest standards.

The Techforce19 call for proposals was clear that solutions be fast to deploy and show results from trials in two weeks. Taking the themes above we crafted a proposal using the tools we deploy in the facilities management and private security industries to help them tackle similar problems.

How could we use the Col8® suite here?

Using our knowledge of the others market we know that there is a difference between delivering services to static places and delivering them to remote locations. For us this is the analogy between managing the CCTV of a fixed site compared to the body worn video of security guards.

Care homes or hospitals and their problems are like the services in a fixed site but delivering care in someones home is a remote worker issue. The majority of clients who use the Col8® suite for remote workers need to PROVE that work had been done correctly and IMPROVE the productivity of their workforce.

For a two week trial we propose to deploy around 30 body worn video cameras on domiciliary care workers and integrate to the care providers records system. The aim of this trial will be to show early indicators that we can:

  • Reduce time from on boarding to productivity of new care workers.
  • Improve trust by patients of new carers in their homes.
  • Improve transparency with families of patients.

A tall order! For depth we will pull apart each of those to explore how we think we can do this and what metric of success will be used.

Reduce time from on boarding to productivity of new care workers

When there is a massive increase in demand and recruitment soars the speed from on boarding to productivity make a massive difference to the ability to deliver services.

In other markets we have helped clients reduce the time to productivity by using body worn video and a training & monitoring system to:

  • Monitor newer members of staff during probationary periods. This can cut down the amount of fully supervised time during on boarding and using end of day reviews by dedicated remote training staff, rather than tying up the most experienced members of staff training on site.
  • Allow self reflection on events by the individual. This is an underrated aspect of video which is to allow the person involved reflect back on actions to see how improvements can be made.
  • Direct proof of activities. Often the primary use case is to provide robust evidence that care was provided correctly or if there was an issue that the person involved is retrained appropriately.

Improve trust by patients of new carers in their homes.

The idea of having someone film video whilst going about their care duties in your home comes with a myriad of privacy and ethical considerations. Whilst there is no one size fits all to these issues we need to balance a number of areas such as the greater good of delivering services in a crisis properly and respect for individuals.

First and foremost, consent and education is the most important element, when visiting patients the norm must be established and education as to why it is being done.

Let's take the prospective of an elderly patient at home and over the last few months with the increased demand they start to see many new faces to help care for them. This must be disconcerting and trusting all these new people in your home will be an issue. The idea behind the use of constantly recording video during visits is to help allay some of that fear.

Patients will know that actions are always recorded, if some thing happens during that visit they can discuss the issue with the care provider easily and transparently. There will be less "he says, she says" scenarios when everyone is held to the same standard.

Improve trust and transparency with families of patients

The Col8® best selling product at the moment is Data Transparency™ which helps organisations that hold video respond to subject access requests under GDPR legislation.

For this application we can use the power of this tool to help provide families of patients the piece of mind to be able to view video footage from any visit to see that care is being provided correctly, the health of their relative and just simple comfort of seeing them from afar.

We know this does not compare to real human contact with the ones we love but we can try to  make it a little easier when isolation is the price we have to pay to keep people safe.

Our secure sharing systems mean this information can be provided quickly, easily and cost effectively.

The wider impact

Putting a dispassionate view on this, the country and world is in crisis, more people will need to be cared for in isolation outside of hospitals and we need to find ways to manage this care better, faster and cheaper.

Many aspects of this proposal are qualitative, where the perception or comfort of the activity is improved and measuring the financial impact of that is quite hard - not to say that they aren't very important things to do.

To help guide the quantitative metrics we looked at how many carers would it take to deliver services to a certain number of people in their homes, lowering this shows potential savings. Reducing this number isn't about having less carers it is a statistical tool to show relative savings and can be viewed as being able to deliver care to more patients per carer.

Having holistically more productive carers (as a result of faster on boarding and remote training) and improved trust to allow carers to be deployed for efficiency rather than purely patient consistency can lead to more patients cared for by a given number of carers at scale.

After some very complex modelling of many factors including potential rise in patient demand (then fall when vaccines are hopefully deployed later in 2020) and deployment of up to 11,500 body worn video cameras with our system we came up with the following projections alongside a guide plan for 2020...

Long term project plan

What do we need now?

At the beginning of this article we made it clear this is a sector we have not worked in before and the situation is not normal business - we don't have the ability to spend months crafting smooth propositions before releasing it to the world.

We want to be open with development, open up to critique even if we are wrong to help speed up this process to get something working for the market as soon as possible.

We are asking anyone who works in this field to share your feedback with us, thoughts, potential issues, ways this could be applied, companies willing to trial this or potential contacts in the area - Please email our CEO Charles Smith directly at

Thank you for your help and taking the time - Stay safe.