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Edinburgh highlights digital in health and social care strategy


A raft of digital initiatives have been included in Edinburgh’s strategy for the future of health and social care in the city.

They form part of the strategic plan published by the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) and approved last week by the city council.

The council highlighted a move towards more flexible working with modernised systems and efforts to promote tailored care for individuals.

The digital plans within the strategy include the integration of health and social care systems, aligned with a replacement – already underway – of the SWIFT system used by the council over the two to four years.

This comes with the development of a community directory and online advice facility, more digital access to services, online self-assessments and the use of intelligent automation, including in home care.

Scoping and assessment

A scoping exercise to define the parameters of this has already begun, along with an assessment of the options for a new home care scheduling system.

Edinburgh City Council highlighted the element of the strategy promising better collaboration between healthcare providers, the council’s housing and homelessness services and local communities.

It also flagged up a ‘home first’ approach in shifting the balance of care from hospitals to the community.

Long journey

Commenting on the overall strategy, Judith Proctor, chief officer for the EIJB, said: “This is the first step on a long journey which will only work if we improve integration and redesign certain services. Our plans are very ambitious because we need to be bold – Edinburgh deserves the very best that we can offer.

“That’s why at the heart of this plan is a desire to improve the experience of patients, families and carers across the board.

“The conventional approach to care makes people wait for an assessment and is about processes, not people. That’s something I’m passionate about changing. We need to abandon the jargon and work in a way which is much more meaningful for families.”

The council said a draft version of the plan produced a 77% approval rating from a public consultation with more than 450 responses. 78% agreed with the intent to concentrate resources in the community rather than hospital settings.

Image from iStock, Slobodan Vasic

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