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Sixteen organisations that provide and commission adult social care services are to receive a share of £4.5 million to enable them to roll out their local digital projects on a wider scale, working collectively to drive standards and solve problems.

The organisations have been selected to receive a Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant, which supports products and services that have already been piloted in small local areas – with the view to implementing them on a larger scale.

Now, the successful Digital Pathfinders will commence a 13-month implementation phase with projects predominantly looking at standardising information and developing digital ways of sharing that information between multiple health and care organisations.

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The investment is managed by NHS Digital as part of the NHS’ Digital Transformation Portfolio and supports the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock’s vision for interoperability and openness, open standards and appropriate infrastructure.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood 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.”

Wirral Council is one of the organisations that will be provided with the funding. It will work to scale up the Digital Discharge process for hospital patients who require care and support when they are discharged.

The council’s system sends information directly into a local authority’s social care system ahead of the patient being discharged and where there is a change in circumstances, removing the need for assessment. The benefits of this work include:

  • Improved Early Discharge performance
  • Reduce Delayed Transfer of Care
  • Shorter length of stay in an acute bed
  • Reduced readmissions
  • Reduce medical outliers
  • Increase flow through the hospital
  • Reduced spend on adult social care

Pam Garraway, Senior Responsible Officer for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, commented: “I’m delighted to see so many exciting digital projects now underway – every one of which has the potential to benefit the whole health and social care sector.

“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.”

The full list of Pathfinders funded for implementation is available below:

  • Bristol City Council – Real Time co-ordination of packages of care and digital workflows across their Integrated Care Bureau.
  • Friends of the Elderly – Roll out of integrated Acoustic Monitoring Technology with Digital Care Planning.
  • Hft – Roll out of “My Health Guide” for Learning Disabilities across large user groups.
  • Lancashire County Council – Implementation of digital discharge messaging service (ADW) and integration with local health care record.
  • Leicestershire County Council – Rollout of NHSmail and access to Electronic Patient Record to care providers. Scale during programme is 60 percent of Leicestershire care homes accredited (200+)
  • London Borough of Bexley – Use of remote monitoring and predictive data analytics to positively impact a person’s wellbeing and quality of life – aiming to prevent, reduce and defer the escalation of needs. Development of an evidential base to demonstrate the interdependent relationship between a person’s social, physical, mental health and social care outcomes.
  • London Borough of Islington – Free Text for predictive analytics across large region. Scale during programme is four local authorities across North Central London.
  • National Care Forum – Creating a network of innovation hubs designed to assist and inspire the care and support sector to embrace technological and digital innovations which improve the lives of people accessing, or working in, their services.
  • Manchester City Council – Extending digital discharge service (ADW) across the region. Scale during programme is 11 local authorities.
  • Nottinghamshire County Council – Developing current interoperability standards across health and social care in partnership with national programmes. Intention is to scale this nationally, including at least two Local Health and Care Record (LHCR) organisations.
  • South Gloucestershire Council – Extending Connecting Care to care homes, and Digital Red Bag. Scale during programme is three local authorities and a number of care homes.
  • Sutton Council – Expansion and standardisation of the digital red bag. Scale during programme is 20 percent care homes across SW London and national capability.
  • Westminster City Council – Expansion of care information exchange to care providers, local authorities and carers. Scale during programme is four local authorities and two trusts with potential for whole NWL region.
  • Wirral Council – Extending digital discharge service (ADW) functionality. Scale during programme is national.
  • Wolverhampton City Council – Extend range of data for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning e.g. delayed discharges, housing, education, police and crime, socio-economic factors, the environment, private sector. Scale during programme is across two local authority areas with potential to extend across STP footprint.
  • Worcestershire County Council – Extending AI and Data Modelling to include Telecare and Assistive Tech Data. Scale during programme is across two local authority areas with potential to extend across STP footprint.
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