CEO Paul Johnson shares how Radar Healthcare became one of the UK’s leading quality and risk management software providers for care home operators.
Hailing from a technology background, Paul set up Radar Healthcare with business partner, and CTO, Lee Williams, in 2012.
“We knew how challenging and regulated the healthcare sector was and saw the benefits we could help deliver through a system like Radar Healthcare,” Paul explained.
“We will all come into contact with healthcare providers in our lives so helping meet quality, compliance and risk management demands was something we were passionate about from the very beginning.
“It was obvious there was a lack of uptake of digital in social care, however, there was an awareness and understanding of the benefits you can derive from going digital.
“We saw there was a lot of time spent going through manual, labour intensive processes that could be completed quicker digitally – freeing up time, which is a valuable commodity for any healthcare provider.”
In order to get up to speed with the sector, the tech entrepreneurs recruited a number of CQC inspectors, as well as consultants, who were helping organisations with the specific outcomes Radar Healthcare was looking to deliver.
“It was a steep learning curve trying to understand how these organisations work, what the challenges were and what the regulatory requirements were,” Paul explained.
“There were many hours of reading CQC guidance and we spent time in care homes trying to understand what they were trying to deliver so we could align the product to meet those requirements.”
Having begun in the private sector space working with small care groups and independent clinics, Radar Healthcare has enjoyed rapid adoption of the platform, which has seen the business take on some of the largest brands and care groups in the UK, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, Methodist Homes, Four Seasons and Advinia Health Care, as well as primary and secondary care providers.
Radar Healthcare has grown quickly from just two people to over 50 dedicated staff who all help the business thrive by continually meeting business needs.
The team includes in-house development, support and project teams, as well as external consultants and associates, and the platform sits in over 10,000 locations, with care homes and social care providers making up the largest proportion of these.
Following its successes and growing reputation in the UK, Radar Healthcare is also being adopted across the UAE in over 90 health settings.
“International expansion has been a natural journey for the business and allows us to further develop and share best practice and guidance across a diverse customer base,” Paul said.
“Residential and nursing homes have become one of our biggest customer bases.
“We provide one platform and our customers can choose which modules they want to adopt, whether that be workforce management, ensuring everyone is competent and compliant from a people perspective, incident management, KLOE auditing, risk management, business compliance or routine business compliance checks.
“We integrate all of these modules into a really clever analytics engine to provide meaningful insight but also to trigger potential interventions, which is a big USP for what we do.
“In practice, this means not only providing users with the ability to run reports on what is happening or showing them through a dashboard, but actively processing activities across an organisation in real time, and identifying when a risk could emerge, before it does.
“In some cases, this alerts the user that pre-emptive action needs to be taken, and in other cases it triggers automatic protocols so that established procedures click into place and staff are notified that this has happened.
“For example, if we saw within a care home group that one particular home had a higher rate of pressure ulcers or medication errors, that can trigger a response to head office so they can advise what the possible interventions might be.
“We’re now looking at predictive analytics because we have all the empirical data and we know that when certain conditions occur there are things likely to happen downstream. This means we can start to predict that and provide alert notifications and interventions to prevent it from happening.”
Another example of predictive analytics cited by Paul included identifying services with a greater use of agency staff during the pandemic. In this instance, management can see where there may be a greater risk of patient harm so that interventions can be made such as introducing shadow leads or putting in additional measures and checks.
“Because we’re driving those interventions we can see a reduction in untoward events such as falls and medication errors,” Paul highlighted.
Helping reduce errors has resulted in a significant fall in customers’ complaints and also contributed to higher CQC ratings for care home providers (see box below).
Radar Healthcare also helps providers save time and, therefore, costs by slashing the time spent on time consuming admin.
“When you compare a manual against a digital approach the return on investment is significant,” Paul explained.
“You’ve got significant savings in hours and that increases with the size of the organisation.”
Monitoring regulatory changes and compliance is another major component of the service Radar Healthcare provides.
“We engage with the CQC, Care Inspectorate and other regulatory bodies to ensure that the product is always fit for purpose and customers meet regulatory requirements and follow best practice and guidance, while also being able to tailor the system to work for them as people could have two completely different approaches to infection control but they both could be compliant,” Paul explained.
Paul observed that the regulatory environment had shifted from an evidence-based to an outcome-based approach in recent years.
He predicted that the right of admissions during COVID would be the next major shift in regulation.
“I think a service’s ability to admit patients will diminish relative to their adherence to regulations,” he suggested.
The CEO highlighted the degree of ‘digital maturity’ of services as another major focus of the regulator going forward and predicted there will be a mandated element of compliance.
Radar Healthcare is also helping pioneer the further integration of health and care services through its close links with health and social care providers.
By partnering with both sectors, the software provider is able to interface between health and social care by sharing data and helping to expedite transfers of care.
“Radar Healthcare can be applied to system wide demands with one example being the transition of patients from hospital into the home or intermediate care, and another being integrating our software with clinician discharge systems,” Paul explained.
“We’re working with a couple of partners on that because we see that is going to be very important as we come out of the pandemic.
“We have all these delayed transfers of care that mean there’s going to be a bigger demand in care homes as intermediate locations so we need to expedite that process.
“We can provide NHS Trusts with a holistic oversight of available locations to discharge patients through an assured process at the click of a button, which means that delayed transfers of care reduce dramatically.
“From a patient’s perspective they can now be engaged in their selection of care and underpin the process to help ensure improved outcomes for all involved.”
Care home operators also benefit by having a digital notification of an in-bound patient and, therefore, can manage the acceptance and admission process.
Paul said Radar Healthcare had seen a sharp increase in demand over the last couple of years that had been accelerated by the pandemic.
“There’s been a real shift in terms of people wanting to adopt these systems and move forward,” he said.
Given the growing financial, staffing and infection control pressures providers are facing as a result of the pandemic, increasing numbers are seeing the benefits of going digital.
Radar Healthcare has played its part in providing additional support to care home providers during the outbreak.
“We made a decision very early on to do all we can to help our existing customers deal with the crisis,” Paul highlighted.
“Radar Healthcare is extremely configurable so it means we can quickly create infection control audits and deploy them individually and at scale. We help our customers keep on top of infection control through regular policy updates.”
Radar Healthcare also helps manage infection control through enabling users to log incidents where there has been a breach against policy or input notes that drive improvement actions.
The platform also provides guidance on daily decontamination checks that must be carried out.
“We created a whole range of COVID related events and that would be anything from a staff member demonstrating symptoms, to managing a resident with a positive test and managing the checks and balances that need to be put in place around infection control audits, safety check assessments, etc, and we rolled these out at no extra cost to our customers,” Paul explained.
The quality and risk management software company is also working on the development of a programme that will help care providers track the vaccination of staff and residents.
“We already had pandemic management support functionality within Radar Healthcare which has proved very useful during COVID,” Paul noted.
“Being a cloud-based software application has provided some big benefits in terms of how we deploy and deliver the system.
“This includes little things such as the responsive web design which basically means that Radar Healthcare will work on any device.
“You can use the full system on a smartphone, tablet or on a laptop so it doesn’t matter where anybody is when they access the platform.
“We also have digital adoption tools within the platform that mean a lot of training is actually embedded in the system when it’s being rolled out.
“We are also able to deploy and onboard people with the system remotely. Part of the reason we have moved to remote onboarding is that we recognised that our customer’s time is precious and we need to reduce disruption wherever we can so we have made the process as easy as possible.
“People are able to easily train themselves on the system. This means that Radar Healthcare can be rapidly deployed and offers a smooth transition, delivering immediate benefits to its customers.”
The quality and risk management software platform leader said he was fiercely proud of the company’s aftersales support service.
“We pride ourselves on how proactive and responsive we are,” Paul said.
As well as offering a fully dedicated support desk, the quality and risk management software provider tracks usage of the system through its analytics so that it can tell when people are spending too long on part of the platform, which may mean it is not intuitive enough and may need updating.
Radar Healthcare also provides a team of Customer Success Managers who ensure that clients are getting the right outcomes and benefits from the system.
The team gathers customer feedback which is then used to reconfigure the system or direct users to other parts of the platform that can deliver their outcomes.
The system is also updated every two weeks, so customers can benefit from all the latest features.
Thanks to its comprehensive customer support, Radar Healthcare is amongst the country’s top 10% of businesses in terms of customer Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
“People like using the system and we get great feedback for being a proactive and responsive service,” Paul noted.
Looking forward, Paul said Radar Healthcare would continue to focus on being a key player in the creation of integrated care systems through its interoperable platform.
“Our system speaks intelligently to other systems and processes,” Paul explained.
“Some of those integrations might be as crude as speaking to a CSV file, or we could be intelligently updating a care planning system with additional information after a resident has had a fall, for example.”
Another exciting area of innovation going forward is around Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The focus here includes intelligent fridge monitoring devices that will talk to Radar Healthcare and report any deviation in temperatures.
It’s an area that is set to be increasingly important given the need to store some COVID vaccines and medications at low temperatures.
Radar Healthcare is also speaking to providers of wearable technology, which looks to be another key area of healthcare innovation.
The quality and risk management software platform is also exploring partnerships with smart meter providers which can detect and send notifications on reduced mobility by monitoring the usage of household energy items, such as kettles, or how often a resident is switching their lights on and off.
“It’s those kinds of innovations that we want to partner with and bring into the system to drive real interventions and improve healthcare outcomes,” Paul said.
“We want to be innovative and forward thinking and the only way we can do that is to ensure that we’re speaking to all these digital elements within the digital ecosystem where we can either deliver value to those systems or they can bring value to our system that we can pass on to patients and care home residents.”
In summing up, Paul said social care was finally on the right track in terms of digitalisation after having historically being something of a laggard.
He noted that affordability and ease of adoption would be key to its future.
“The care sector is heavily pressured with resource and commercial constraints so we will continue to develop and deliver against those constraints and ensure that our products are affordable and as simple and easy to adopt as possible,” Paul concluded.
For more information on Radar Healthcare and its services, click here: https://healthcare.radarsoftware.co.uk/care-providers/