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How are Local Authorities Benefiting From a Digital Revolution in Social Care?

3 min


c. Thomas Cizauskas, Flickr.com
After NHS Digital announced a digital revolution in social care is set to bring £127m of future improvements, Quadrant Health looks at how new technologies will take the pressure off NHS staff, while improving the care of patients using the service. 

A push for the use of digital technology in health care is expected to lead to £127 million worth of benefits. Analysis of NHS Digital’s Social Care Programme found the new ways of working will reduce hospital admissions and GP visits, as well as improve quality of life.

This health care programme, which started in 2016, aimed to harness the power of technology and information to help England’s social care sector for people more effectively and efficiently.

So, how has the £23 million funding helped the development of technologies such as apps and the roll-out of new robotic tech to help carers?

James Palmer, Programme Head of Social Care Programme at NHS Digital 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 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” added, James.

69 local authorities have already reaped the rewards

Innovative ideas that have been introduced through the programme has seen 69 local authorities benefit from new technology.

Under the initial phase of this programme, 26 Pathfinders were funded to run small pilots in their local areas. In this most recent phase, which ran from 2019 to 2021, 16 of these organisations received funding to develop their products, scale them up and make them available for use by other organisations.

The Care Provider Alliance is proud to have been an integral part of this programme and to have been involved in such transformational work

Mandy Thorn, Vice-Chair of the National Care Association, said: “The Digital Social Care Pathfinders programme has left a legacy it has helped create stronger links between the adult social care provider sector, local authorities and the NHS, whilst empowering individuals to have their voices heard. The Care Provider Alliance is proud to have been an integral part of this programme and to have been involved in such transformational work.”

My Health Guide is an innovation that stands out from the programme. This used digital technology to establish predictive scenarios for vulnerable people in different health care settings.

NHSX is leading the digital transformation of social care

Ann Mackay, Director of Policy at Care England, added: “It is hard to single out individual projects from amongst the 16 – the proof of concepts, such as the use of integrated acoustic monitoring technology will have a long-lasting impact. In addition, the focus on predictive technology has been particularly impressive and the project with HFT (My Health Guide) has actually given people with learning disabilities a voice.”

This programme has demonstrated the huge potential benefits of technology in improving the quality of care people receive in the adult social care sector

The Digital Social Care Pathfinders project ran until March 2021 and the products developed are now available to be used by other organisations.

NHSX is leading the digital transformation of social care and will build on the work of NHS Digital.

Alice Ainsworth, Deputy Director for Social Care Tech Policy at NHSX, said: “This programme has demonstrated the huge potential benefits of technology in improving the quality of care people receive in the adult social care sector.”