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Trends · 1 June '21

How technology is rapidly improving the homecare industry and supporting our carers

According to Gartner, although 87% say digitalisation is a company priority, only 40% of organisations have developed digital initiatives to scale. There’s no doubt that technology can help to revolutionise entire industries, and one industry in need of technology to support its workforce and its end clients, namely the eldery and vulnerable, is the homecare sector.

Helping homecare

There are over 10,000 homecare providers in the UK, with c.814,000 people receiving domiciliary care in England alone. Carers are the backbone of the homecare sector, and providing safe, effective and compassionate care for clients should be their main focus. Keeping up with changing compliance, ensuring client folders are kept up to date, and ever-changing rotas are all challenges that sometimes lead to errors and take up valuable time away from delivering care. This is where technology can make a difference.

The homecare sector has traditionally been paper-based, which means that technology needs to digitise a lot of the processes that have been ingrained in social care for decades. Technology must not only successfully replicate the requirements of a homecare agency, but it also needs to be easy to use and intuitive for carers.

For example, permitting care workers real-time access to their rotas on a mobile app is a perfect use case for the technology. By removing the need to pick up a paper rota each week, carers can keep track of any amendments, and have access to all the information they need about a client ahead of, and at a visit. It removes the unnecessary admin work that would typically take up their time and that of their managers. And ultimately, this allows them more time to focus on providing a high standard of care.

Caring about compliance 

However, it doesn’t stop there. Compliance in the social care sector is critical to ensuring that homecare clients receive the quality of care, delivered in a safe way, that they deserve. There’s no doubt that technology can facilitate a homecare agency’s compliance, from detailed reporting and scheduled reviews to spot checks and electronic medication administration records, to ensure that the agency is compliant with all policies and legislation. Technology can also support agencies with contingency planning and help to keep personal data secure and private, making them comfortable in the knowledge that they’re staying compliant at all times.

The overarching role of technology is to take on the lion’s share of the work and ensure that carers are as compliant as possible in the tasks that they undertake, resulting in increased efficiency and greater person-centered care for clients. Less time spent on admin and completing manual processes ensures that the carers have more time to provide care for those in need.

Looking to the future

The impact that technology is beginning to have on the sector has so far been transformative. New ways of working brought about by the pandemic, such as the way GP consultations have become flexible by phone and online, were adopted almost overnight. There’s now greater scope for advanced technology to be widely adopted, particularly when we know it is making a real difference to people’s care.

However, it’s not just about digitising workflows, the homecare industry is constantly changing, and technology needs to adapt to these changes. This includes technology that supports the creation of dynamic care planning and the efficient data capture of a patient’s physical and mental welfare to enable proactive interventions. The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) predicts that 57% more adults aged 65 and over in England will require care in 2038 compared to 2018. Listening to homecare agencies, changing perceptions and developing technology based on their needs is how we can help transform and support the sector when it needs it the most.