How do you solve the Bed Blocking Crisis?

Earlier this year the BBC reported that bed blocking costs the NHS an estimated £900 million per year. Further estimates suggest that one in every ten beds is taken by someone medically fit to be released. This adds up to a huge problem and one that needs to be solved. Delays are typically found to occur with the booking process between care homes and local authorities. OLM feel that in this time of austerity this figure is unacceptable and have been working with Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Care Providers Association (HCPA) and CCG partners to develop a solution.

Simply named, BedFinder, the App makes Social Care and Hospital Discharge team’s much more efficient, removing the considerable wasted time spent calling round to Care Homes trying to find a suitable vacancy. In its place the user now only needs to check the easy-to-use system for vacancies and book the space online. The time saving nature of this change in process being priceless.

HCPA chose OLM to develop the product, based on our 25 years of knowledge and experience within the care sector and proven track record in delivering digital solutions (with MyLife already supporting more than nine million citizens across the UK). The right partner to develop the software was a key consideration for Hertfordshire Care Providers Association.

The association networks with 300 care home providers in the UK and with so many providers to monitor, they needed a way of monitoring bookings in real time. They needed to be able to see up-to-date information, where vacancies lie and easily fill them without the hassle of calling around to every home in the area. Choosing OLM as a partner meant that Hertfordshire Care Providers Association were able to rest easy in the fact that changes would be made and developed quickly into the system. This was evidenced in an early demonstration of the system, during which time OLM invited Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Care Providers Association and service users to see the system for the first time. The demonstration discovered that certain parts of the system needed to be tweaked and feedback was taken immediately and updates crafted accordingly.

Custom built solution

Careful consideration has been undertaken by OLM to ensure that the product meets all of the tender requirements. The modern interface and easy to view availability timeline greatly assists users in their day-to-day jobs. The functionality not only enables the smooth booking of care beds, but it is  very useful for providers as it assists them with reporting and pre-planning of their operations. They are able to see when peak periods are likely to occur and pre-plan accordingly.

The system is intuitive and will prevent double bookings. Once someone has reserved a room, it will be passed over to the care home to approve or decline. Only care homes will have the power to amend the system, with email reminders and updates being automatically generated from the system if so desired.

Future updates will also include the ability to log training notes and display CQC ratings beside each care home, with the ability to filter by accreditation. All of this and everything outlined above will help to speed up the booking process and reduce the amount of hours spent administering. Being intuitive and easy-to-use will mean that little to no training will be required and dramatically reduce the cost of ownership for the system.

The Bed blocking crisis solved – Watch us on Sky TV

Sky TV heard about the application and are showcasing it on an upcoming documentary about technology and healthcare. Filming completed, the full programme will be shown on Sunday 23rd October at 10am, on SKY channel 189. In the interim, a short overview of the Bed Finder has been created, which you can see on the OLM YouTube channel.