top of page

The Digital Journey for Care Organisations: Where is your Care Org in the Digital Age?

We love tech and how it can transform the lives of care providers and care receivers, so we thought it would be useful to outline the digital journey that we often see care organisations taking, and the various steps along the way. What are these stages and the pros of digitisation in care? What is involved? These are questions we will help you to answer in this article, so read on!

Stages of Digital Transformation and Care Organisations

The archetypal timeline of digital transformation for care organisations

It’s worth stressing these stages are generalisations, your organisation may feature aspects of more than one stage (e.g a care home using VR headsets). It is also possible to have various parts of your organisation at differing stages as well; harmonising these stages can evolve collaboration across your organisation into an ever-greater symphony, where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

So without further ado, here are the stages – can you see which one your care organisation is in overall?

1. Paper/Digital

Thankfully, virtually no care homes are using purely paper-based tools! A substantial minority of care homes use a blend of both digital and physical information tools, with documents and physical filing systems (whether they're physical or on an intranet) combining with office softwares such as Microsoft Office for tasks like reporting. Digital and physical information intersect with the use of printers, document scanning and emails to move information between these two mediums.

While care organisations have seen great benefits from this stage, which enables a great speeding up of operations from purely paper-based use, there is much more where that came from! This stage has limitations around the complexity, speed, interconnectedness and reliability of information flows, which in turn effect compliance, reporting, efficiency, and the ability to make changes to a new system from a legacy setup. This is partly because of the evolution from purely paper to emails and office software becoming more complicated with more channels like IT infrastructure, an intranet and user networks and training complicating operations that are also difficult to change once they are in place.



  • In person training is required to onboard people into using these systems.

  • Physical paperwork can be more engaging to use for some people

  • Paper files are easy to secure as you must be physically present to access them

  • Compliance - difficult to keep info up to date, manage copies or file/hand over consistently, or to retrieve data quickly for reporting

  • High cost - Many zero value add processes that take the carers away from caring e.g. Reporting, rotas, care planning, obs, meds, payroll,

  • Difficult to improve – most data only at site, reporting a manual & delayed process, only data requested tends to be reported, data in silos/not interconnected

  • Physical storage risks fires, crime – there is only one master copy

  • Staff can dislike paper-based processes as they can be more difficult (e.g. booking holiday)

So, what awaits care organisations in the next stage of the digital road?

2. Cloud Digital

A majority of care organisations have at least a foot planted in this stage. Cloud Digital entails the usage of cloud-based applications to operate a range of solutions in the organisation. This includes rotas and care home management softwares, payroll and finance, and estates and maintenance softwares for care organisations and many more.

The chief benefits of this stage is amplified interconnectivity, speed and quality of information – for example, these apps update in real time and can be accessed by a range of users (e.g front and back-office staff) on a range of devices; if a care home worker reports that they need to self-isolate and a replacement will be needed for their shift, it is possible for other staff to see the vacant slot and book themselves in! Contrastingly, in the paper/digital stage, it is often the case the shift change would need to be manually reported and replaced, so copious amounts of time can be saved here.

Aside from cloud apps, the office itself also enters the ‘cloud’, with suites such as Microsoft 365 being usable from browsers. Live document collaboration is possible, so less emailing (and searching your emails!) back and forth occurs. Also, solutions offering dedicated physical devices with their own app can also be monitored within the cloud digital stage.

Another chief benefit of this stage is the integration of apps to create systematic benefits. For example, a pay apps combined with a rostering solution enables staff to get paid for overtime as they work it rather than weeks later in the normal payroll cycle encouraging staff to book themselves in for extra shifts.

Finally, these softwares often have reporting features and offer data-backed insights in real time.

The difficulty in making this change must not be underestimated. It is not just a case of swapping a paper system for a digital one. We need to look holistically at our processes and change them to get the most out of the tools we invest in and bring all the people along with the change as well. Too many times this is not happening as well as it should and results in less benefits than expected or in extreme cases failed implementations.



  • ​Compliance – All records all up to date and easily accessible through many devices

  • Efficiency – zero value added tasks eliminated

  • Connectivity – almost live data available to authorised people anywhere in the country

  • Risk Reduction - uncompleted tasks visible, live & accurate info available, no loss of data at handovers.

  • Cloud security via encryption

  • Carer Satisfaction – Digital tools allow carers to focus on caring

  • Care receiver and their families satisfaction – care more transparent

  • Profitability – data quality allows for a better understanding of the costs of providing care enabling this to be optimised

  • Staff may need familiarising with new softwares

  • Cybersecurity risks; staff training, anti-virus, passwords etc

  • Despite basic analytics, wider patterns, correlations and predictive insights are largely unavailable

  • Cloud Information management; a risk information becomes a ‘digital maze’ without proper organisation

3. Data Analytics & AI-Integration

A small minority of care homes have firmly entered this stage; while basic analytics are available within cloud softwares, they often have limits on what you can choose to measure, useful correlations, and a human is needed to make sense of the data and draw actionable insights from it. This is where the Analytics & AI stage adds value; the scope of valuable data, how it can be seen and compared, and how valuable and quickly conclusions are reached, are all transformed when this stage is executed well.

What marks this stage out from the others? It’s the use of big data and AI (such as machine learning) in business systems to rapidly generate actionable insights, which can be managed in a user-friendly interface or dashboard. By feeding these algorithms data, whether it be about assets, training completion rates, or care management data, the algorithms can find correlations around what is causing issues, while it can also offer timely predictions that save costs, time and stress in many ways. Implementing this stage requires new expertise that the organisation may not have engaged before, so investing in effective change management is essential.



  • Pattern recognition within and between softwares & channels

  • Predictive capabilities in organisation

  • Live, comprehensive data available to decision makers

  • AI creates efficiencies, mitigates emerging risks, gives insights

  • Analytics can be steered to goals and purposes in the organisation

  • Financial and personnel investments needed for this change to happen and give maximum value

  • New expertise likely needed to build, maintain, and improve data analytics and AI integrations

  • A potential constraint on benefits is the quality of existing data

4. Internet of Things <-> Digital Integrations

Although some care organisations have an Internet of Things presence (thanks to Alexa and sensory care equipment), It is rare indeed for care organisations to be firmly in this stage! The IoT/Digital integration features a collection and synthesis of both physical and digital data points to deliver exceptional improvements for both care receivers and providers. This is partly and necessarily achieved using AI and big data from the previous stage, which allows instantaneous insights and predictions in the physical and digital world.

What does this stage look like practically? Adjustable equipment such as beds can be controlled digitally by service users and staff, sensors can detect movements and sounds to alert staff to imminent care needs. They can also help with re-ablement; for example, a care receiver doing walking exercises can have their progress precisely recorded and optimised by a sensor-equipped device. This equipment can help to open new care opportunities including receiving domiciliary care, provide personally tailored care, and to make big improvements in staff efficiency while giving privacy and autonomy.



  • Ability to analyse physical and data data to make fast improvements

  • Facilitates customised care, privacy and re-ablement for care receivers

  • Greatly improved efficiency

  • Rapid reporting of info/issues from sensory devices to act upon

  • Analytics-backed insights are much more accessible for operations ‘on the ground’

  • IoT devices are relatively cheap

  • Need to invest in analytical skills to exploit IoT devices

  • New expertise may be needed to build and maintain IoT-Digital setups

  • Market developing and not fully mature

5. Extended Reality (XR) Integration into Care Services

Some care homes are taking initial steps to include immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences into their service. For example, Longfield Care Home introduced VR headsets to residents, which allowed them to virtually experience their favourite places. If you’re organisation is preparing to bring VR in your social care service, well done – you're getting ahead of the curve! While a great initial step, ultimately VR experiences will happen as part of a wider Metaverse, or Extended Reality, that immerses the senses and enables a whole host of creative abilities for users within an ongoing, synchronised virtual reality.

This presents big opportunities; in the Metaverse, active participation, movement and social engagement will be possible in a range of settings with others from around the world. While VR as a gateway point to a holistic virtual platform is still in its relative infancy, what could integrating XR into a care service look like in future for both providers and care receivers?

For providers, XR technology could be used to physically simulate planned physical changes ahead of actual changes, be they in a care-receiver's room layout or for entire care home builds. VR can be used to facilitate re-ablement efforts by allowing service users to emotionally and physically connect with desired future experiences in a safe format.

As VR increasingly becomes a feature of social experiences online, service users can start connecting to a huge range of immersive experiences that they would otherwise not get to have – it's an exciting step ahead from mainstream applications today with visually immersive 3D models, but it also is developing unpredictably and introduces new risks.



  • ​Staff and care receivers able to simulate immersive experiences for a range of purposes

  • Care receivers enjoy opportunities for unprecedented autonomy, connection and experiences

  • Immersive training/networking that is very cost and purpose effective

  • Digital mediums and outlets that feel real, engaging and present while giving options for privacy

  • Potential for synergy with domiciliary care formats/options

  • Although physical safety is relatively assured, digital safeguarding will require consideration

  • Uncertainty: the upcoming Metaverse that will host these immersive experiences is still taking shape

  • VR hardware and digital integrations will require a variety of investments

💡 Final Thoughts

The various stages of digital transformation provides a huge range of innovative opportunities and benefits for care organisations to leverage.

As a rule, successful digital transformation gives staff further efficiency, options, clarity and agency to perform their invaluable work - while care receivers enjoy more choices, autonomy, personalisation and security; talk about a win-win!

For all the benefits, the tricky part for change-makers is ensuring digital transformations happen in a smooth, holistic, and well-communicated way. That’s where we come in. We’re friendly, geeky, experts in digital technology, social care, and project management; Add that up and we’re end-to-end experts at orchestrating digital transformations for social care organisations!

If you’d like a free clarity consultation to help you take the next step towards your digital transformation, we’d love to help. You can book in your free call here.


bottom of page