- Four transformational projects receive a combined total of over £3 million to drive independence for those in care
- Over 55% regulated care providers now have a digital care planning system to move away from paper record keeping
- Over 1,300 care providers can now access GP records to provide safer care
People who receive care will benefit from new technology to help improve their independence and reduce avoidable hospital admissions, the government has announced today.
Four new projects have received over £3 million through the government’s Adult Social Care Technology Fund to transform the use of digital technology in adult social care.
The funding will help identify care-focused technology solutions that have the potential for wider rollout within the sector, and in doing so provide evidence to prioritise investments in care technology.
- National Care Group will receive over £300,000 to improve the quality of medication management and recording and promote independence in taking medication using an Electronic Medication Administration Record System. This will improve the accuracy of recording medication and improve health outcomes for the 1,236 people supported
- Shropshire Council, in partnership with domiciliary care providers, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICB, My Home Life and TEC suppliers will use funding of almost £1.2 million over two years to embed technology in people’s homes alongside a virtual care delivery service to help meet care and support needs digitally. This aims to support independence in the home, help people manage their daily needs and promote self-care
- Reading Borough Council, in partnership with Henley Business School, will use funding of just over £1 million to trial and understand the benefits and potential of sensors technology to monitor any significant changes to a person’s daily habits that may cause concern. The aim is to trial systems that support people to live sustained or increased independence, a sense of well-being, safety, and security
- Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board: NHS Greater Manchester and the University of Manchester and partners will receive almost £380,000 to deliver a project to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using a digital falls prevention programme for older people living the in the community who receive care and support at home. This enables the user to undertake a personalised falls prevention programme and incorporates health literacy games to improve the awareness of activities that promote bone health, diet, safety at home, and hydration.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said:
I’m delighted to announce the projects receiving the first £3 million of our adult social care technology fund today. These exciting projects will use technology to improve quality of care and help people live independently for longer. More care at home and more personalised care is what people want and helps reduce pressure on the NHS.
We are also investing in digital care records to join up care and reduce the burden of admin on staff. I look forward to seeing these projects develop and scale up the use of technology in social care, better meeting people’s care needs and helping us build a sustainable care system.
Skills for Care CEO, Oonagh Smyth, said:
Congratulations to all four teams who have secured funding that will help them evaluate the effectiveness of care technologies in adult social care, and how it might be scaled up at a local level.
These projects will support the Skills for Care digital leadership, digital champions and digital skills programme where we are working with the adult social care sector to build the confidence and skills of our workforce to embrace, adopt and embed technology.
Professor Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum, says:
It’s exciting to read the details within the successful bids and to acknowledge the innovative thinking behind them which promote independence and focus on improving the experience of the person receiving care.
Opportunities like these, and the advancements we’re seeing in shared data, particularly the aims for digital care records, help us to envisage a future of a truly integrated health and care system which gives people more independence and control over their own care, and keeps their needs at the centre.
Charlotte Hall, Programme Manager, Shropshire Council, says:
We are thrilled to have been awarded the CareTech funding, enabling us to further develop and expand our virtual care offer in Shropshire. This is particularly beneficial to individuals that live in rural, hard to reach areas in the county where it can be difficult to find care availability or for those that are reluctant to have carers entering their homes, but require some degree of care and support to enable them to remain independent and in their homes for longer.
This funding will enable the project to expand, reaching more people and allowing us to test new approaches to social care delivery.
Michael Armstrong, Managing Director at Havering Care Homes, says:
We have used a digital care planning system for several years and it revolutionised our business. It has reduced the time staff spent recording information, which allowed them to spend more time with the residents, and the information staff produced was more valuable in building up an understanding of care needs and how they are changing.
From a management perspective it has given us much better management information to get a good overview of residents individual and collective needs, along with such benefits as GP connect and access to shared care records.
Integrated Care Systems, care providers, local authorities, evaluation partners and technology suppliers were invited to submit expressions of interest to apply for funding of technology solutions that focused on at least one of three priority areas:
- To increase care quality and safety
- To reduce avoidable admissions or readmissions to hospital
- To increase the support for people to live independently in their own home
The fund is open for applications on a rolling basis, which are then evaluated in waves.
Building on the People at the Heart of Care white paper, the Adult Social Care Technology fund demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to the digital transformation of adult social care. Alongside this, funding support continues to be available through the digitising social care programme for the adoption of digital social care record solutions.
Digital social care records, or electronic care plans, enable care teams to deliver outstanding, safe, personalised care by having the most accurate, up-to-date information at their fingertips. This can save time spent on administrative tasks, releasing up to 20 minutes per care worker per shift to give staff more time to spend interacting with people.
Adoption of digital social care records by Care Quality Commission-registered providers has increased from 40% in December 2021 to more than 55% in September 2023.
The exact breakdown of funding for the projects is as follows:
- Shropshire – £1,191,597
- Reading – £1,085,505
- Manchester – £378,113
- National Care Group – £349,234
- The digitising social care programme is a major government programme delivering on the commitments to digitise adult social care outlined in the 2021 white paper, People at the heart of care. The programme is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and delivered in partnership with NHS England.
- Applications for funding can be made here: https://beta.digitisingsocialcare.co.uk/funding-implement-and-evaluate-care-technology