Josh Hough on the future of health technology

For the third year running CareLineLive has been placed in the HealthTech50. Here is Managing Director, Josh Hough's input to their annual HealthTech Insights report.
Josh Hough
Marie Page
16th June 2024

For the third year running CareLineLive has been placed in the HealthTech50. Our Managing Director, Josh Hough was asked to contribute to their annual HealthTech Insights report. Here are his Q&A responses:

Describe a trend you expect to see in the coming 12 months

Over the coming months I think we’ll start to see more software providers trying to link in AI to the home care space. Whilst I see AI as being an incredibly valuable asset, we must not overlook the fact that ultimately care is still based on people. If we rely on AI to do too much, we lose the person centred care approach that the CQC is aiming for.
Yes it’s all very well and good for a platform to match unallocated carers using a whole myriad of traits and attributes to visits, but the AI will never, in my opinion, be a replacement for a human having at least a final check.

Is technology democratising access to healthcare effectively?

To a point, but with the ever increasing burden on the healthcare system, whilst technology may have originally helped I think it can also now be hindering. At the end of the day there are only so many hospital beds and procedures take a fixed amount of time that technology can’t necessarily halve. So as technology helps us diagnose people quicker, the bottleneck still remains with human ability at the end of the day.
We have seen CareLineLive’s technology helping in exactly this scenario where ‘bed blocking’ due to inefficiencies and delays within the social care system was preventing discharge. Working with Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust we have been able to free 60 beds per day of patients that would otherwise remain in hospital awaiting discharge. It is up to the NHS and social services that commission reablement care to better embrace the opportunities that technology offers to address these challenges. (Reference

In home care, things are a little different because technology can help us with increased capacity (by showing gaps). It can help in optimising journeys and digitising what would have been lengthy paper processes. With things like this happening, it does allow more capacity which ultimately does make home care more accessible.

Is the healthcare sector becoming more joined-up thanks to collaboration through technology?

I’d really like to say yes, but my experience of this at the moment is we still have such a long way to go before this is even 50% useful. Technology offers so much potential for joined-up working but the public is risk averse and slow to change.

What is your experience of the fundraising landscape?

It’s currently tough – it had got easier, but the snap election has unfortunately caused more uncertainty. Whilst a Labour government will (theoretically) be great for the healthcare system, and potentially CareLineLive, the uncertainty that brings to HNW’s who typically invest in businesses like ours is huge.

What are the challenges you face in recruitment & retention? How have you tackled these?

Thankfully with inflation coming down we are seeing less of those whose salary expectations are unreasonable. This is making it easier, but staff will always feel like the grass is greener elsewhere. All we can do is help make our staff feel valued and that works well for retention.

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