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09 Dec 2021

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Reliance on technology is not without risk

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I have just finished reading a novel by Robert Harris called The Second Sleep which paints a post-apocalyptic scenario brought about by a global failure of IT. The logic is frightening; if people cannot access their bank accounts, how do they buy food? Within a couple of years society is back to the equivalent of the Dark Ages.

OK, Harris has conjured a worst-case, widespread scenario but perhaps social care providers should be thinking about how service provision can be maintained in the event of a more localised, less catastrophic and hopefully temporary digital breakdown.

More than 20 years’ ago, when I first started with Caring Times, there were a few ‘Ma and Pa’ care homes which still used paper-based accounting systems; not quite invoices in a shoebox, but not far removed. Most care homes had seen the writing on the visual display unit and were busily converting to accounting software. Widespread take-up of electronic rostering was just around the corner.

IT was still finding its legs and some of the software was quite basic compared to what is now available. Email was well-established but mobile phones were still more or less telephones and ‘blackberries’ were all the rage.

Enough of the nostalgia; information technology now has a role in almost everything – care plans, rosters, payrolls, medication, building utility systems, real time monitoring, the list is almost endless and I do wonder if our near total reliance on IT is altogether wise. Reading The Second Sleep has made me think that perhaps we shouldn’t entirely lose sight of how things used to be done.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 Replies to “Reliance on technology is not without risk”

  1. You do sometimes see modern day incarnations of Joan of Arc, passionately challenging for change. They promptly are dealt some ‘Order of the…….’ honour and they duly retract their claws, now purring along so nicely.

  2. The Wannacry episode last year showed how horribly exposed much of the NHS was to cyber-attack, i.e. to events far beyond its sphere of influence or control. It’s always worth providers checking how up to date both their software, and their anti-virus software, is; and what their back-up systems are in case of a breakdown.

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