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Organisations share £4.5 million for digital social care projects

11/02/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

A group of local authorities and charities has been awarded £4.5 million to support projects using digital technology in adult social care.

NHS Digital released details of the 16 projects backed by the Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant, aimed at a large scale implementation of products and services that have already been piloted in local areas.

They will go into a 13-month implementation phase with a focus on standardising information and developing digital ways of sharing it between multiple organisations.

The investment is managed by NHS Digital as part of its Transformation Portfolio.

Nicola Blackwood

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood (pictured) said: “Bridging the technology gap between the NHS and social care is a central part of achieving a health and care service that is fit for the future.

“This £4.5 million investment will support local areas to improve information sharing across services, ensuring people avoid hospital unless absolutely necessary and helping everyone live independently for longer.”

NHS Digital highlighted a project involving South Gloucestershire Council and the London Borough of Sutton, which are developing a ‘digital red bag’ for care homes to support the continuity of care. It involves providing access to local health and care record portals and allowing information to be shared by GPs, hospital and other local organisations.

It also pointed to Wirral Council’s efforts to scale up the digital discharge process for hospital patients, sending information directly to a local authority’s social care system ahead of discharge and when there is a change in circumstance. This is aimed reducing delays in the transfer of care, readmissions and the number of medical outliers.

Other organisations to receive support are:

  • Bexley Council – Remote monitoring and predictive data analytics to support a person’s wellbeing; and the development of an evidential base to demonstrate the interdependence of social, physical, mental health and social care outcomes.

  • Bristol City Council – Real time coordination of packages of care and digital workflows across its Integrated Care Bureau.

  • Friends of the Elderly – Roll out of integration acoustic monitoring technology with digital care planning.

  • Hft (learning disabilities charity) – Making the My Health Guide for learning disabilities available to larger groups.

  • Islington Council – Scaling up the use of free text for predictive analytics to four local authorities in north London.

  • Lancashire County Council – Implementation of digital discharge messaging service and integration with local care record.

  • Leicestershire County Council – Roll out of NHSmail and access to electronic patient record to care providers.

  • National Care Forum – Creating a network of innovation hubs to help the care sector embrace digital innovation.

  • Manchester City Council – Extending the digital discharge service to 11 local authorities in the region.

  • Nottinghamshire County Council – Developing interoperability standards across health and social care in partnership with national programmes. The aim is to scale this nationally to at least two local health and care record organisations.

  • Westminster City Council – Expansion of care information exchange to care providers, local authorities and carers, scaling it up to four local authorities and two trusts in north-west London.

  • Wolverhampton City Council – Extend the range of artificial intelligence and machine learning into areas such as delayed discharges, housing and education.

  • Worcestershire County Council – Extend AI and data modelling into telecare and assistive technology.

Pam Garraway senior responsible officer for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital said: “What makes it so exciting is the fact that these projects aren’t working in isolation, as they perhaps would have done in the past. They are working collectively to drive standards and solve problems, which is why we are confident that all of the pathfinder projects can be replicated easily.

“This isn’t just about best practice pilots. Once this work is finalised, we fully expect areas will be able to go out and use these products and implement them locally – safe in the knowledge that they are tried and tested.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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