How does embracing technology improve care, and what are the obstacles to implementing technology?

How does embracing technology improve care, and what are the obstacles to implementing technology? 2273 1658 Belén Laya Asensio

Last year during the Care Show, one of the most well-known fairs of the care industry in the UK, we did a short poll with over 200 healthcare professionals. 89% of the respondents said they would embrace technology that could improve continence care so, we asked our Distributor Channel Manager here at Ontex, Angela Gillespie, to share some of her thoughts on this topic. Angela, also known as Ange, supports distributors and care homes to use our continence care products and, in the below article, she discusses what embracing technology in care homes could look like, and what the challenges could be when implementing technology…

A continence care background
Having worked in the continence care market since 1998, I’ve spent a whopping 25 years discussing what great continence care looks like. I’ve been at Ontex for nearly nine years now, and it’s really within the last handful of years that I think we’ve seen a technology wave washing over care homes…whether they are ready for it or not!

A technological revolution
Thinking about it, I believe that COVID-19 forced a lot of care homes to react to technology. For example, when there were no visitors allowed, Facetime and Zoom became the substitute for a cuppa and catch-up for many residents. I’ve heard from my customers that, although it felt uncomfortable to adapt when there was so much going on (understatement!), ultimately they saw the benefits when their team was pushed out of their tech comfort zones. Because, although most people have mobile phones now, it doesn’t mean they are comfortable with the next technological step. This goes for both young and older generations too.

Since then, technology has been slowly becoming the norm. For example, electronic patient records (EPR) are now considered more commonplace. For those yet to adopt, electronic patient records (Nourish Care is a popular choice) are a great tool that allows the secure sharing of patient information. This means less risk of lost information, quicker access for healthcare professionals, and ultimately, better care. Yet, although EPR companies were added to the Health Systems Support Framework in 2019, it’s only now they are becoming more popular.

Change can be scary
Personally, I believe it is because the unknown can feel unnerving. Healthcare professionals work hard and have limited time, so changing processes and introducing new technology can feel alarming.

We recently completed our first UK pilot of Orizon SMART. This is an electronic sensor for continence care that alerts the caregiver when the incontinence product needs changing. When we began the trial, we held sessions with the staff, residents, and relatives to understand why they may feel reluctant about the trial. It wasn’t paying lip service, we listened to understand how to make the technology more accessible.

For example, one support worker was concerned that it seemed confusing to pair the sensor clip to the android phones provided. We were able to give her the phone with the app downloaded and a clip to try it herself. She then waved the clip over the phone and it paired within seconds. So she both felt listened to, and her concerns were alleviated.

Because of this, we try to ensure that our training does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s straightforward and tells you what you need to know. With our recent trial, one of the benefits was being able to train the team in short 15-minute sessions, so it didn’t have a negative impact on the day and you didn’t feel like you’re back at school! We then provide hands-on support whenever it’s needed. The home felt that it made embracing the technology less daunting and easily demonstrated that it was there to support carers rather than take more time from them.

A sector underfunded
While encouraging everyone to be an active part of the journey will help to overcome some of the obstacles, the next issue is the budget.

It’s no secret that the care sector can struggle to afford emerging technology, even when there are clear benefits. Luckily, there is an increasing focus on implementing technology, which includes some reasonable grants and funding to help healthcare settings on their way. For example, NHSX is providing £8.2 million in funding to support digitisation in social care, which is broken down into different regions. Having the initial funding when implementing technology really helps to get over one of the main hurdles. With Orizon SMART, although the initial cost can seem high, after a few weeks we have seen care homes across Europe reach close to cost-neutral. Many factors feed into this, but they can include a reduction in wet beds, unnecessary product usage, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Not just cost saving
Although technology could help with cost saving and a reduction in physical paperwork, it’s also worth considering the additional added benefits that you can’t assign a monetary value to. For example, our UK trial of Orizon SMART has shown multiple residents sleeping a full eight hours at night. This compares to when each resident would be woken up multiple times a night due to conducting a physical continence product check. With our sensor and product, this can instead be checked electronically. But, the real benefit is how the residents now act when they’ve had a good night’s sleep. Apparently, they are noticeably calmer, happier, and more interactive during the day. This then has a positive effect on other residents and staff because it’s a nicer environment to work in. This, in turn, could even increase staff retention because it more the job more enjoyable. So, what cost do you assign to that?

Final thoughts
Over the past few years, I have seen a shift in the healthcare sector to become more accepting of technology and that’s really great to see. With some many tools out there, it really is time to embrace technology. But, I also understand why some may be reluctant to do so. Here, I think it’s down to the suppliers to bridge the gap, making it easier to embrace and implement tech as it’s there to make lives better, not create difficulties.

With this new attitude to technology emerging, I’m excited to see how the care sector can be supported to continue providing quality care.


To find out more about Orizon SMART, a continence solution created by Ontex, please click here.

Belgian National TV News features Orizon Smart as technology that can help release nurses’ heavy workload

Belgian National TV News features Orizon Smart as technology that can help release nurses’ heavy workload 883 523 Belén Laya Asensio

In July 2022, the Belgian Government announced an extra budget of 21 million euros to invest in innovative tools and technology that can help relieve some work pressure from nurses in hospitals.

As an example of how this special funding can be materialized, the Vitaz hospital in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, presented this week to the press our Orizon Smart solution for incontinence. The Belgian minister of Public Health, Frank Vandenbroucke, also came personally to this hospital to see what results this type of technology is producing and to stress the importance of innovation as a key element to help lower the nurses’ work pressure and increase their satisfaction.

The problem of work pressure in nursing is enormous. The staff shortage is really acute, and they are under a lot of stress, so you have to take a whole battery of measures. Both, additional resources to recruit nurses, and of course, technology which is a big part of the answer. And that is why we are making this big investment in technology that improves the lives of nurses and healthcare professionals.
– Frank Vandenbroucke
Public Health Minister of Belgium

During this visit, Marie Blondeel, one of the nurses of the hospital, made a live demo of the solution and explained the key benefits she sees in using Orizon Smart regularly:

What we mostly notice is that we don’t need to disturb and wake up the patient so much. Those are bedridden patients who get really exhausted every time they are being turned around to change their incontinence products. As a consequence, they are often restless and agitated, especially at night.
– Marie Blondeel

This solution increases the quality of care, and it also saves us time that we can spend with the patient.
– Marie Blondeel

Curious to watch the full reportage? Check it out on VRT News (in Dutch) or on the regional TV for a longer version, TVO (in Dutch).

Orizon EuGMS

The European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS) invites Ontex to present the Orizon Smart solution at their 18th international congress in London

The European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS) invites Ontex to present the Orizon Smart solution at their 18th international congress in London 1200 600 Anna Lambrix

As a proud sponsor of the European Geriatric Medicine Society, Ontex attended the last edition of the EuGMS congress to promote our new Smart solution within an international audience.

We met with a lot of interesting people, mostly from the medical field, that were really impressed and enthusiastic with our solution. We were lucky enough to receive plenty of positive feedback and inspiration from these experts.

EuGMS congress

We also had the chance to organise a lunch session with the EuGMS Urinary Incontinence Special Interest Group, focused on sharing clinical and industry updates on incontinence care. Helen Seymour, our UK Healthcare Commercial Director, presented the latest results from several European trials of the Orizon Smart solution, generating a lot of interest among the audience.

Orizon Press Event

Press event with the Flemish government ministers to announce Orizon Smart test results at a care home

Press event with the Flemish government ministers to announce Orizon Smart test results at a care home 1920 886 Anna Lambrix

Our Executive Vice President R&D & Sustainability, Annick De Poorter, has spoken at a press event in Belgium, announcing the results of a smart incontinence care project at a nursing home that tested our Orizon Smart solution for several weeks.


Ministers of the Flemish government, Hilde Crevits and Jo Brouns, attended the session together with the care home group director to learn more about the Orizon Smart solution and discuss how the use of these technologies can significantly improve elderly care.


Some of the key results presented during this event related to the optimization of incontinence product consumption and cost, as well as the increase in comfort and quality of sleep of the residents. An accurate monitoring of the saturation level of these products means that it is not always needed to disturb the residents at night for a check.

By the end of the event, all participants and attendees were reassured of the importance of innovation in the care industry and the potential of the solutions like Orizon Smart.


Orizon Smart presented at the Altenpflege fair in Essen, Germany

Orizon Smart presented at the Altenpflege fair in Essen, Germany 2560 1707 Belén Laya Asensio

From April 25th to 27th 2022, the Messe Essen exhibition centre hosted the Altenpflegue fair. With over 20.000 attendees, it is one of the most important meeting places for the care industry in Germany.

Every year, the latest developments, products and services for inpatient and outpatient care are showcased during this 3-day congress and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to be there and show our latest innovation on incontinence care management, our Orizon Smart solution.

Together with our local partner, the GVS group, we set up a big booth with an exclusive demo lab on the upper floor where we could do live demos of the solution and experience the first impressive reactions from our visitors:

The use of this solution would be a relief. You don’t have to wake up the resident at night and can let people sleep through. For the resident this is phenomenal, and for the caregiver this means an enormous reduction in workload.

– Jennifer De Vaal
Intensive Care Ventilation Specialist

I definitely see a significant time-saving. It would give more time for other things, like playing games and talking with the residents. I wouldn’t have to check every time if the patient is wet. It’s a perfect solution for everyday care.

– Ute Haiplik
Intensive Care Specialist

Seeing the positive feedback and the excitement of the attendees from the elderly care industry was incredibly encouraging and reassured us of the potential of our Orizon Smart solution.

Our Commercial Director Healthcare Germany, Detlef Röseler, had the chance to give a presentation at the forum to explain more in detail what our solution is about to a broader audience.

We were very happy with the interest generated and we look forward to connecting again in 2023!