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Pulling into the Innovation Pit Stops can put you in the driving seat with Health and Social Care

The Digital Catapult is dedicated to linking up the UK’s best digital ideas and enablers to public services and the market place. Alpine is working alongside the Catapult and its partner Atlantic Customer Solutions, to design and deliver innovation events in health and social care with a difference!

You won’t have failed to notice its a big issue nationally. Our ageing population is creating more demand on our health and care services. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (2014) estimates that councils will will spend £14bn on adult social care this year. This is an average 35% of a council’s spend and discretionary budget. Health and adult social care services face increased customer expectations with reduced funding. There are delivery, cultural and workforce challenges. But the Care Act, a shift towards virtual wards, and more integration of health and social care in the community can also bring opportunities for new ways of working.

The pit stops respond to the priorities that council CEXs, Adult Social Care and Place Directors, and their HR/OD specialists tell us this is a real strategic challenge that impacts on many parts of a council with adult social care statutory duties. These include: health and well being, protecting the most vulnerable citizens, reducing reliance on agency staff, up skilling staff for specialist needs (e.g. dementia), the marketisation of care, and expectations around big, open and personal digital data. Health and social care are emotive services, wrapped up in notions of trust, fairness and humanity towards older adults.

It is complex area. These innovation pit stops focus on new ways of working by exploiting digital and data to improve services. Using specific innovation techniques to unlock the challenges associated with digital and data, the events came up with solutions to transform health and adult social care with a clear value proposition for citizens.

The first pit stop on the digital opportunities for the Personalisation of Social Care – took place on 12-13 of March 2015. It looked at prevention through accessible data and its visualisation; how digital can help efficiency, access and self service (e.g. through tele-care); how data can speed up the assessment process (particularly for people currently funding their own care); and how assistive technology can support personalised care.

It was well attended (over 50+ participants) who were immersed in the issue. Using a PechaKucha format (7 minutes, restricted slides) they shared inspirational stories, and then went on to define and frame the problem in detail before working on solutions.

Over two days there was a high level of challenge and energy. Check out the photos here: https://www.facebook.com/DigitalCatapult/photos_stream

Local authorities found it challenging to step outside of the operations and legal accountabilities around the problem; whilst the tendency for digital entrepreneurs was to seek a solution before framing the problem in detail. But working in multi-expert groups, councils from far and wide designed solutions for their priority issues such as:
  • Tackling loneliness of carers through everyday digital devices such as smart TVs for tele-medics, Skype and connection carers feel they cannot leave the home
  • Leveraging community assets by mapping services, networks and partners, sharing info & open data, using the info for decision making, networks and pooled resources to increase efficacy and outcomes
  • Using digital for disruptive innovation to manage demand away from councils by supporting self funders to own personal Care Accounts, allowing self funders to become visible to the councils and the wealth of data on trends and needs (currently held solely by providers) to be shared with the council so it can plan services now and in the future.

At the end of the event, Innovate UK launched a new £2m innovation fund for innovation with digital personal data to facilitate the collaboration of digital entrepreneurs and front-line services.

There was excellent feedback -even from the most digitally experienced. Jamie Whyte (Head of Trafford Intelligence and Innovation Unit) said the event was ‘fantastic’ and Gary Oakford of Mersey Fire & Rescue confessed to taking away lots of ideas and contacts that can help him harness digital for preventative and innovation in his NW Merseyside-wide lead role in Implementing of the Care Act.

The event was free of charge. Throughout, the Digital Catapult kept everyone well nourished (lots of smoothies and fruit given the health focus). Importantly because the design team recognises that innovation isn’t restricted to one geographical place, accommodation expenses in London are reimbursable for council and CCG participants travelling from outside of London.

The next pit stop is Integrating Health Care and Social Care – the digital challenge, (30 March and 1st of April). It will focus on the enabling role of digital, and will take place at the Catapult lab in Euston, London.

All evidence shows that one of the greatest inhibitors to the integration of Health and Social Care lies in the sharing and integration of digital and data. How shared data can be used holds the potential to unlock insights into users (patients and recipients of care) that could dramatically impact on the independence, quality, longevity of and responsibility for their lives.

It is likely that we will work with some real (anonymous) data and progress towards developing live solutions (or at last prototypes) in the sessions. Knowledge support, networks and funding are made available to all participants after each pit stop. You can find more information at: http://www.digitalcatapultcentre.org.uk/event/integrating-health-care-and-social-care-pit-stop-the-digital-challenge/

As you might expect, the second pit stop is currently over-subscribed – but LG participants will welcome and prioritised. Anyone interested in pulling into these pit stops innovation and driving change in the future, can register on -line at http://bit.ly/1Md6Z0Bhttp://bit.ly/1Md6Z0B or by emailing terri.sheperdigian@atl-cs.com (simply citing this article).

Ruby Dixon is a public sector innovation specialist and is the Head of Local Government Practice at Alpine.


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