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Healthcare technology terms and definitions

Healthcare Technology Definitions Feature

Technology within the home and residential care space is evolving rapidly. 

With new technology comes new words to describe it. Some of these have obvious definitions, whereas others are a little less straightforward (if you’ve come across the word LLM and aren’t quite sure what it means, you’ve come to the right place). 

We’ve compiled the most common terms used in the tech space and explain how they relate to home and residential care. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

What is Artificial Intelligence? 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a broad field, encompassing any system that can perform tasks typically requiring human intelligence. AI has many applications in home and residential care, and we’ll see it being increasingly adopted over time.  

How will AI be used in home and residential care? 

There are many ways that AI will be used in home and residential care. Some examples are: 

  • Summarising notes by clinicians and care workers 
  • Enhanced decision-making support 
  • Identifying gaps in care 
  • Predicting medical emergencies such as falls 
  • Developing systems to avoid potential challenges that may arise 

Of course the possibilities are endless, and we will see it supporting clients, care workers and administrative staff much more as it evolves. 

Application programming interface (API)

What is an API?

An API is a set of rules and tools that allows different software applications to communicate with each other. An API on a website provides a list of operations you can perform and instructions on how to perform them. You can request specific things through an API, and it gives you the response or data you need. 

How will APIs be used in home and residential care? 

APIs are commonly used in home and residential care to enable different applications to communicate with each more quickly and easily. AlayaCare’s Connector uses APIs to allow different applications to seamlessly work together without using their internal code directly. This allows simple integration and automation of workflows that cross between distinct systems, without requiring complex solutions and long development times. 

Augmented Reality (AR)

What is augmented reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) integrates digital information with the user’s environment in real time. This usually involves someone using a device such as a smartphone or AR glasses. The result is a feeling of being in the real world, but with digital elements layered on top of it. 

How will augmented reality be used in home and residential care?

We are seeing augmented reality increasingly adopted in caregiving and healthcare. An example is using it to calm people with dementia by providing soothing visual stimulation. Another evolving use is stroke rehabilitation as a method to promote neural plasticity by mimicking real-world situations. 

Biometric data

What is biometric data

Biometric data are our unique biological characteristics such as fingerprints, patterns on our eyes and heart rate. Biometric data is collected frequently in our day-to-day lives, such as through our stored fingerprints or facial features that we use to unlock our smartphones and other devices.  

How will biometric data be used in home and residential care?

Biometric data is already being used within home and residential care settings, with wearable devices such as Fitbits or Apple watches gathering information about heart rates, blood oxygen levels, activity levels and many other measures. At AlayaCare, biometric authentication enables workers to log in quickly and efficiently to the mobile app. 

Data analytics

What are data analytics?

Data analytics refers to the analysis of large sets of data to uncover patterns, trends, and insights. In home and residential care, data analytics can help optimise workflows, predict patient needs, and improve decision-making processes. 

How will data analytics be used in home and residential care?

AlayaCare’s Data Exploration analyses client engagement and satisfaction. By examining data from client interactions, feedback, and service usage patterns, agencies can identify areas for improvement in client services. 

Deep learning

What is deep learning?

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that involves training artificial neural networks with multiple “deep” layers to learn from large amounts of data. It mimics the way the human brain processes information, allowing computers to recognise patterns, make decisions, and perform complex tasks. 

How will deep learning be used in home and residential care?

Deep learning can be used to integrate advanced monitoring, predictive analytics, personalised assistance, and intelligent home automation in home and residential care settings. This can improve the quality of life for residents, enhance safety, and support caregivers in delivering better care. 


What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI-powered machine developed by OpenAI. It is a computer program that you can write (or speak) questions to, and it will reply in a way that mimics a typical “human” conversation. It uses a vast amount of data and Large Language Models to answer your questions with relevant responses. 

How will ChatGPT be used in home and residential care?

Large language models like ChatGPT can serve as virtual assistants by providing or summarising information to residents and caregivers in home and residential care. Other use cases include generating descriptions, taking actions such as creating new tasks and taking notes, or as a search tool. There are many uses aside from this, and it’s likely ChatGPT and LLMs will increasingly become a huge support to clients and caregivers. 

Electronic Health Records (EHR)

What are electronic health records?

Electronic health records (EHR) are digital versions of patients’ paper charts. They contain comprehensive information about a patient’s medical history such as diagnoses, medications and treatment plans. They enable information to be shared easily among healthcare providers. 

How will electronic health records be used in home and residential care?

Of all the new and emerging technologies, EHRs are arguably the easiest to explain in the context of home and residential care. Traditionally, clinical notes were paper-based, making record keeping and collaboration much more difficult. With the advent of EHRs, health professionals can now instantly communicate with one another, ensuring a higher standard of care for clients. 

Generative AI (GenAI)

What is generative AI?

GenAI refers to AI systems (like ChatGPT) that can create new content, such as text, images, or music, based on patterns learned from existing data. Unlike traditional AI systems that are primarily used for classification, prediction, or optimisation tasks, GenAI focuses on generating novel outputs. 

How will generative AI be used in home and residential care?

We are already seeing GenAI’s uses in home and residential care, with large language models like ChatGPT being used to summarise information and generate suggestions related to a client’s unique circumstances. 


What is hallucination (in the context of large language models)?

Hallucination refers to when a large language model, like ChatGPT, generates responses that are unrelated to the input or deviate significantly from the context provided. This may result in incorrect, irrelevant, or even completely fictional answers.  

How will hallucination be avoided in home and residential care?

As large language models are increasingly used in home and residential care settings, it’s clear that hallucination is not an ideal outcome in these settings. They can be avoided by providing as much appropriate and relevant data to the model as possible, and by placing safeguards on the models to ensure they avoid fabricating answers when they don’t have appropriate responses. 

Large Language Models (LLMs)

What are Large Language Models?

Large Language Models (LLMs) is a type of AI specifically designed to understand and generate human-like text based on extensive training on a large dataset. LLMs can summarise, extract and query information from new documents. There are thousands of ways you can use it, with more evolving every day. 

How will large language models be used in home and residential care?

LLMs can function as digital aides, providing clients and caregivers with information or condensing it for better comprehension. Other use cases include generating descriptions, taking actions such as creating new tasks and taking notes, or as a search tool. These are just a few examples, but there are many opportunities beyond these for LLMs to profoundly impact the home and residential care sector.  

Machine learning (ML)

What is machine learning?

Machine Learning (ML) is a subset of AI. It uses algorithms and statistical models that enable systems to learn from data and improve over time. ML is a way to achieve AI, specifically through data-driven learning and prediction without being explicitly programmed to do so. 

How will machine learning be used in home and residential care?

In home and residential care, machine learning algorithms are already being used in software to support workers. An example is AlayaCare’s Visit Optimiser which streamlines the manual process of searching and matching the best home care provider for a vacant visit via advanced algorithms.  

Natural Language Processing

What is the Natural Language Processing?

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field of AI that focuses on the interaction between computers and humans through natural language. The goal of NLP is to enable computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language in a way that is both meaningful and useful. 

How will Natural Language Processing be used in home and residential care?

NLP can be used for text comprehension and summarisation in home and residential care. An example could be using NLP to detect important information, like caregiver sentiment, in patient documentation and caregiver notes. This could then be used to determine the probability of caregiver churn. 

Predictive modelling

What is predictive modelling?

Predictive modelling is a process used in ML to create a model that predicts future outcomes based on historical data. This involves various algorithms and techniques, including regression, classification, and time series analysis.  

How will predictive modelling be used in home and residential care?

In home and residential care, predictive modelling can anticipate changes in residents’ health conditions, medication adherence, and care needs, enabling proactive interventions to prevent complications and improve outcomes. In AlayaCare we use predictive modelling to develop explainable predictions of adverse events for our clients or the risk of caregivers churning out. 

Prompt engineering

What is prompt engineering?

Prompt engineering refers to using specific cues or language that elicits a desired outcome from an LLM. For example, any time you ask ChatGPT specific questions with the intention of seeking a certain answer, you are employing the principles of prompt engineering. Prompt engineering incorporates everything from superficial, simple prompts, to complicated and detailed prompts.

How will prompt engineering be used in home and residential care?

Prompt engineering will be (and is already) used by everyone incorporating an LLM into their own or someone else’s workflow. This is demonstrated through people asking a question to ChatGPT like, ‘are you able to summarise this email into three dot points?’ or more complex prompts related to administrative tasks. 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

What is Robotic Process Automation?

In Robotic Process Automation (RPA), software bots are used to automate repetitive tasks. This automation can be for administrative tasks, data entry, financial transactions, and more. 

How will RPA be used in home and residential care?

In home and residential care settings, RPA can automate repetitive administrative work like intake and scheduling, and streamline processes like documentation. 

Smart home

What is a smart home?

Smart home tech has been widely available for many years, and its adoption will likely only increase. A smart home is a home equipped with devices and appliances that are connected to a central network. These can be controlled remotely or automated to perform tasks autonomously. Examples of these devices are lighting systems, security cameras, door locks, and kitchen appliances, among other things. 

How are smart homes used in home and residential care?

Smart home configurations can be incorporated in both home and residential settings. Its uses could range from falls detection to voice-activated operation of devices and appliances. 

Virtual Reality

What is virtual reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in computer-generated environments, often experienced through headsets or goggles. This is different from augmented reality in that augmented reality overlays digital content into the real world, whereas virtual reality creates a fully immersive, fictional world. 

How will virtual reality be used in home and residential care?

In home and residential care, VR can be used for therapeutic purposes, such as pain management, cognitive stimulation, and relaxation exercises, offering people an immersive experience that enhances their physical and emotional well-being. 

AlayaCare is a modern, configurable, and interoperable platform spanning clinical documentation, mobile care worker functionality and scheduling. We develop new and innovative technology to tackle problems the home and residential care sector face. 

Reach out to an AlayaCare expert to discuss how you can implement these new technologies to elevate how you deliver care. 

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