NHS Digital has launched an effort to scale up the use of digital solutions for social care with a competition for financial support.
It has opened the door for applications for shares of £4.8 million under the Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant, saying it is for existing products and services that have already been piloted in small local areas, or have a strong evidence base, with the view to implementing them on a larger scale.
Applications can be made by adult social care providers with not-for-profit status, local authorities and academic organisations based in England. They are allowed to include other organisations in partnerships and consortiums.
The projects that are selected will go through a four-month development phase followed by a 13-month implementation phase if development is successful.
NHS Digital, which is running the initiative as part of its Digital Transformation Portfolio, said there are two main themes in the programme. One is to use standards to support interoperability and support information sharing in the health and care system.
The other is the use of data for early interventions for those at risk of needing care and the prevention of escalating social care needs. This could involve predictive modelling for adult social care and using data to highlight when a person is at risk of losing their independence.
Pam Garraway, senior responsible officer for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the social care sector to see their local digital projects rolled out on a wider scale; potentially benefiting the whole health and social care sector.
“Applicants should have already successfully piloted a solution in their area or have a strong evidence base of need.
“This investment will then support them in scaling up across multiple organisations that can reuse and share successful solutions in the wider area or elsewhere.”
The move follows NHS Digital’s recent launch of the third round of the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme, which is focused more on supporting the initial development of solutions.
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