INTERVIEW WITH AUTUMNA ENTREPRENEUR DEBBIE HARRIS
March 2023 was Autumna’s most successful month in terms of Care Provider new premium listings and confirmed care home placements. We talk to Debbie Harris, founder of the online UK directory, about what she sees as the reasons for the increase in engagement from both care providers and self-funding care seekers alike.
“We’re definitely getting out and about a bit more,” she says. “Over the past few weeks we’ve become Founder Patrons of Championing Social Care, we’ve attended The Pinder Healthcare Design Awards, Digital Health ReWired, the Thriving, Not Just Surviving Care England Conference, the Future of Care Conference at The Kings’s Fund and we’ve judged and presented prizes at The Home Care Awards.”
How was UK Care Week for you?
“It was great to see everybody at UK Care Week. I was really pleased to see so many people involved in the social care sector across the board from care home settings, extra care, retirement living and care at home.”
“My talk ‘How to Attract Self-Funders in a Digital Age’ was the opening presentation on the Keynote Stage and several people came up to me afterwards to say they’d got to the venue early to make sure they saw it, which was really heartening.”
“We went through our Autumna feedback data and introduced our exciting collaboration with Esri UK. Esri UK use mapping and spatial analytics in combination with Autumna’s self-funding care seeker data to give large and small providers alike the ability to benchmark their care home against their competitors.”
“It will look at any location and tell providers what self-funding families are looking for in terms of care, what they're telling us they're prepared to pay for that care, and it'll also be able to compare one care home location against other locations in the country.”
“Esri makes this fairly complex data very visual and easy to understand allowing a clear overview of historical changes in the care home sector, and a better ability to predict future trends, enabling care home providers and owners to enhance their care service with a resilient and sustainable care home offering.”
“So, if you have premium profiles on Autumna, please get in touch and let us show you this new data analysis tool in action.”
What were you presenting at The NHS Long Term Plan?
“My presentation at The NHS Long Term Plan was all about D.A.D (Dashboard for Accelerated Discharge) and how Autumna can help unblock some of the obstacles facing hospital discharge teams finding step down care into a care home setting or the community.”
“There was a very real contrast between the two events. At The NHS Long Term Plan there were only 6 speakers in total and my presentation was the only one that mentioned social care. It was a large audience with a number of people from various digital transformation teams and I think, if nothing else, the presentation raised awareness amongst them that a more efficient communication channel between the NHS and social care is rarely considered, but could be implemented very easily and provide a huge benefit to patient flow.”
“It pinpointed, in a nice way, where the problems are in discharge teams and offered solutions. And, whilst being able to search, filter and deliver results in the way that D.A.D does is a tech solution, the key is having a good working relationship with the social care providers and the information about those social care providers to make it work which is something unique to Autumna.”
What was your main take-away from The Future of Care Conference?
“I came away thinking that we need a single voice representing social care for the care home provision and the wider care sector in the same way as the NHS. Even though the NHS is made up of a whole host of disparate groups, it is perceived as a single entity.”
“Social care covering care home providers, extra care, domicilary and retirement living needs to be seen the same way, so we can compare, in a very real way, our numbers, our deliverables, the importance of our staff and their value they contribute to society. I think if we spoke as one voice, we might have a better chance of doing that.”
How did you find the Pinders Healthcare Design Awards?
Debbie was invited to the Pinders Healthcare Design Awards by the team at Ownacarehome so we were keen to find out if she had enjoyed the day.
“I thought it was absolutely brilliant, really inspiring. I normally come back from these award ceremonies with my ears ringing from an over-loud PA system, but at the Pinders Awards, it was pitched at a level that was really conducive to networking.”
“There was a real warmth about the people there who all seemed to be working together to help and celebrate each other’s work. What was a real shame was to hear, that the organisers are not going to be running the awards again, especially since they have helped to define care home design and facilities across recent decades.”
“Perhaps this would be the opportunity to put a shout out to see if anybody would like to work collaboratively with Autumna to try to keep the flame alive? “
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