What is it?
An online marketplace for health and care services aimed at disabled people and their carers. supportspace cuts out the need for brokerage services by providing a targeted search system that matches services and workers with the exact needs of the user.
How does it work?
The service is a multi-platform online app - an Uber or AirBnB for health and care services. It has a structured search system where users can search by time and day, in addition to location or service offering. Users can also communicate directly with the health and care providers via the platform.
Who’s behind it?
Max Zadow, the founder of Digital Creativity in Disability and Andrew Michaelson, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of Care Innovation. Additional R&D support was provided by Worpcloud Ltd.
The original idea for the platform came from Max who is disabled himself. He was unsatisfied with any of the existing options on the market for personal budget recipients and thought the platforms being used by local authorities didn’t do a good enough job. With a number of colleagues at Digital Creativity in Disability he ran some sessions to further develop the idea for a platform designed with users in mind.
“So many of the platforms on the market treat people like they’re a football rather than a player,” says Andrew. “They treat intelligent capable people like they’re suffering from advanced stages dementia.”
As well as tailoring tone and language to be more suited to users, the supportspace team has designed the platform to be accessible for people with a range of disabilities, from visual impairment to autism.
One of the changes made to the platform based on user testing was to reduce the number of clicks it takes to search for a particular service. It can now be done in just six clicks. The team are also looking at specific functionality that would help blind users, such as an audio signature, in addition to photos, for care workers. This would allow a blind person to verify the care worker when they arrive against the sound of their voice.
Andrew says there’s a big opportunity to work with local authorities here in the UK. The ambition is is grow the service nationally, and eventually through international markets. The potential cost savings by cutting out brokerage services should prove appealing to local authorities.
The aim of the Inclusive Technology Prize was to inspire technological innovation from individuals and small businesses to improve or develop assistive living aids, adaptations, products and systems that will make a real difference to the lives of disabled people.