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NHS Digital claims big benefits from Social Care Programme


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Doctor holding patient's hand

NHS Digital has claimed an expectation of £127 million worth of benefits from its Social Care Programme.

It has carried out an analysis of the programme – which began in 2016 and has focused on testing the use of digital technology in the sector – that shows various initiatives could reduce hospital admissions and GP visits and improve the quality of life for many people receiving care.

This would be equivalent to £127 million over their lifespan.

The programme has included the Social Care Digital Pathfinders initiative, through which new digital tools were adopted by participating providers to transform care. Under the initial phase, 26 pathfinders were funded to run small pilots of products focused on standardising and sharing information.

The Professional Records Standards Body was commissioned to support the projects and develop five new national standards for integrating health and social care information.

The broad programme has also involved the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme and Social Care Digital Accelerator Programme, which involved 69 local authorities involved in new ways of using technology.

Delighted with impact

Programme head James Palmer said: “We are delighted to see the impact that digital technology introduced through our programme has already had on people’s lives and the multitude of benefits it will bring in the years to come, both on individuals and on the wider health and social care sector.

“Our approach throughout has been led by users of the services and we have worked collaboratively with care providers and local authorities, which has given us high confidence they can deliver outcomes and benefits for those commissioning, providing and receiving care.”

Specific innovations highlighted by NHS Digital include an electronic ‘red bag’ that accompanies a patient leaving hospital for residential care or a nursing home and contains a standardised set of information, and remote monitoring technology for care home residents.

NHSX is planning to build further on the work from the programme.

Image from NHS Digital, Open Government Licence v3.0

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