27 October 2020 | 0 Comment
While Matt Hancock’s drive to deliver digital transformation in the health care sector should be applauded, the recent announcement of iPads for care homes is short-sighted and ignores the market research.
The 11,000 iPads amount to less than one unit for each of the UK’s estimated 12,500 care homes; a drop in the ocean for the millions of vulnerable older adults likely to be shielding this winter.
It’s also bizarre to be providing touch screen devices for communal use during a pandemic where the public is constantly reminded that the virus can be transmitted through hard surfaces such as mobile phone screens. Hopefully, they come with plenty of cleaning wipes.
Then there is the massive cost of purchasing and distributing the tablet devices, which start at £329 per unit, as well as the monthly cost of a 4G mobile subscription and training the User on a device and technology that most are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with.
Research conducted by Kraydel in July 2020, showed that under a quarter (23%) of older adults felt comfortable using a tablet device, and just 18% were familiar with using Whatsapp, 15% with using Skype, and 9% using Zoom.
As we demonstrated to Mr. Hancock in 2019, the User experience of a smartphone or tablet device has been shown time and again to be suboptimal for older adults and drives anxiety which reduces use. For example, a tablet device needs constant charging every 7-10 hours. A tablet also needs to be on hand when a loved one is calling, not left on a table, in a draw, or another room. Smart devices also limit calls to just the person handling the device, excluding other loved ones in the room.
Older users of tablet devices also often struggle with the fatigue in their arm and neck muscles whilst holding these large devices. Additionally, with the onset of old age, many people experience reduced circulation in their fingertips making operating an iPad both frustrating and impractical to use.
For the loved ones they are attempting to communicate with, there’s also nothing worse than a wobbly, handheld video call featuring extreme close-ups of grannies nostrils or ear lobes.
Now compare this experience of a tablet, with a two-way TV-based video call. Whereas only a small minority of older adults are comfortable using a tablet, 97% of people we surveyed owned their own TV. That TV is the biggest and brightest screen in their home, with an entire room arranged to sit comfortably around it. Every care home and house in the country has a TV room; no one has a tablet room! This is precisely why care homes have approached Kraydel for TV-based video calling in residents’ rooms and also in communal areas.
TV-based video calls mean no more extreme close-ups on a handheld device – instead, you can see the older adults’ whole environment and body language. There’s no device to charge, and no device to hold throughout a call; meaning longer and more engaged conversations that the entire family can participate in.
Kraydel’s Konnect platform has been specifically designed for older adults, can be set up in minutes, and takes no training. By removing the barriers to use, we are tackling social isolation and loneliness; connecting older adults to their loved ones but also enabling telemedicine.
To complement TV video calling, Konnect enables doctors and healthcare professionals to make video calls, schedule appointments, and set reminders and notifications through the TV. We’ve integrated the widest range of IoT health, well-being, and environmental sensors to enable care professionals to get a fuller understanding of the Users health and resilience through our analytics dashboard.