Kent County Council and Medway Council are preparing to run a series of pilot projects using digital devices to support health and social care.
They have made plans with Cantium Business Solutions for a project to begin next week that will initially focus on three service areas: health visits, maternity services and substance misuse services.
It will begin with three months of conducting surveys and collecting insights, following which the councils will begin to loan out devices to people in need for three-month periods, with Cantium providing device configuration, distribution and support assistance.
Each device it provides will be preloaded with NHS approved apps.
Further forward the project, which is set to run for two years overall, will involve running device refreshes and creating an ecosystem of recycled devices for citizens.
There are also plans to expand it into supporting parents of older children and services for the elderly, with the aim of ensuring that people who are not digitally connected can have the same experience in using a service, through means such as online consultations.
The pilots will be evaluated to inform a longer term strategy for the councils and their partners.
Other agencies involved include Kent Community NHS Health Foundation Trust, Medway Community Healthcare, North East London NHS Foundation Trust and Citizens Online.
Councillor Clair Bell, Kent’s cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “At the current time it is more important than ever that residents have access to critical public health services when they need them.
“This pilot will ensure that those who do not currently use digital devices will receive training and support, so they can share in the benefits of modern technology and experience new ways to communicate and keep in touch.”
Councillor David Brake, Medway’s portfolio holder for adult services, said: “The pilot will also help to reduce social isolation, making it easier for families to stay in touch. Help and support will be available to residents who may not have used a digital device before.”
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