Data Driven Futures
Why do we cut corners

NHS makes £4.8m available for digital social care

Written by Peter Walker

Organisations that provide and commission adult social care services have been invited to bid for a share of £4.8 million to enable them to roll out their local digital projects on a wider scale.

Applications for the Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant have opened today 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.

The investment, part of the NHS’ Digital Transformation Portfolio, is managed by NHS Digital and supports the secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock’s vision for interoperability, open standards and appropriate infrastructure.

The selected Digital Pathfinders will begin with a four-month development phase followed by a 13-month implementation phase if development is successful.

Applications can be made by adult social care providers with not for profit status, local authorities and academic organisations based in England.

There are two main themes to this programme of work: the use of standards to support whole health and care system interoperability, for example:

• Sharing of information across the health and social care system to support efficient access to care, and for direct care.
• Real-time event alerts that notify a social care provider when a citizen receiving social care support has been admitted to hospital, discharged from hospital and other appropriate flags.
• Removal of fax machines from care providers through the implementation of appropriate safe and secure messaging platforms between health, care providers and local authorities.

And the use of data for the prevention of escalating social care needs and for early intervention of those at risk of requiring social care, for example:

• Predictive modelling for adult social care demands and needs across a population.
• Using data to highlight those whose combination of health, social and environmental indicators means that they are at higher 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.”

The deadline for applications is 22 May. There will be two webinars on 10 April and 29 April for potential applicants to ask questions.