A new tracker which uses the latest internet technology has been trialled among Burton care workers. The W-Trak, which is the size of a credit card, will be used as a time management system for carers who look after people in their own homes.
It works by using GPS technology to pinpoint a care worker's precise location and records their arrival and departure times meaning that accurate information about their visits are logged.
The new technology has been trialled by Foston-based Mediline, which provides more than 500 nurses and carers for the community across the Midlands.
Five care workers from Burton and Uttoxeter have put the trackers to the test as they made daily visits to around 30 clients.
Michael Baines, Mediline managing director, said: “Stonelin approached us to undertake the training because one of the difficulties of having a remote workforce is tracking their arrival and departure times at the different locations where they are providing care.
“With a number of local authorities we work for, the care workers have to check in using the landline phone of the client. Although we use freephone, this can sometimes be a problem with elderly people being suspicious of the way their phones are being used.”
Bosses had considered using smart phones to determine where care workers were, but this would bring the added costs of issuing staff with phones and taking out mobile contracts.
Mr Baines said that he would consider introducing the W-Trak for all staff in the future.
The W-Trak has been developed by experts at Stonelin Communications, using inter-networking technology, thought to be worth up to £5.4 trillion by 2020. The company is led by Steven Stone in Hednesford, Staffordshire and Dabin Lin in Hong Kong.
This technology has been used before to help owners track the location of their pets, families dealing with a relative with dementia and a vehicle tracking system.
Steven Stone said: “Last year in the UK, more than 1.2 million people received a total of more than 350 million hours of care in around 10,000 geographical locations across the UK. And in 2015 the total estimated UK domiciliary care budget, both state and self-funded, was more than £5.5 billion.
“We’re delighted that Mediline has agreed to trial a number of W-Traks. The scale of their operations are the ideal test-bed for our product and I’m glad to hear it is already proving its worth.”
The tracker works by connecting devices over the internet, using them to collect and store data and then using that data for a productive purpose. It is already in operation via computer and smart device applications which people use today such as controlling the heating system in the home via a smart phone.