Steal with pride: the benefits of digital technology

Helen Arthur profile picture

11 December 2017

Helen Arthur
New Care Models Programme technology lead
NHS England


New Care Models Programme technology lead Helen Arthur has been at the Integrated Care Summit promoting the growing evidence around technology-enabled care and a new tool for realising the benefits of investment in technology.

 

It’s hard to imagine life without our electronic gadgets – we have smartphones, smart televisions, and smart motorways.  We inhabit a virtual world where we rapidly consume information at the touch of a button, and create vast volumes of data through our digital interactions with the world.

Whilst we know technology is part of the answer to sustaining health and social care services, it can be a challenge to know how, and where to invest valuable resources to best effect.

Whilst we know technology is part of the answer to sustaining health and social care services, it can be a challenge to know how, and where to invest valuable resources to best effect.

Helen Arthur    

 

New Care Models Programme

At an Integrated Care Summit last week, I talked about how the lessons from the New Care Models Programme can accelerate the spread and adoption of technical solutions, and make it possible to deliver better care at lower cost.

The programme has supported 50 vanguards across the country – NHS and partner organisations – to integrate health and care services in their communities.

It has long been recognised that technology is an underpinning enabler that helps to join up fragmented services – by giving care professionals shared access to patient information. This leads to improvements in the quality of care and the patient experience as well as driving efficiencies in the way services are run.

Technology empowers patients and the public to take more control of their own health and wellbeing .

Helen Arthur    

And technology empowers patients and the public to take more control of their own health and wellbeing – by improving their access to information, community support and the right professionals who can help them achieve their personal health goals.

 

Digital strategies

We have worked closely with vanguards to develop digital strategies, informed by the evidence around technology-enabled care. This evidence base continues to grow. Now we have a benefits realisation tool that can help other health and care organisations to “steal with pride the good ideas”.

To kick off we commissioned a pragmatic review of the evidence to demonstrate where local services could invest in new solutions with greater confidence, signposting them to existing technology. The idea wasn’t to give a hard and fast steer on what to do but to provide another decision-making tool.

The review was carried out by the Health Informatics Network and they explored five key applications for technology: mobile health apps, telemonitoring, text messaging, video consultations and web-based interventions.

The Health Informatics Network explored five key applications for technology: mobile health apps, telemonitoring, text messaging, video consultations and web-based interventions.

Helen Arthur    

We discovered, for example, that video consultations generate efficiencies, are convenient for patients and there is no suggestion that the quality of consultation is impaired. We also found that text messaging was under-used despite it being a cheap option in reminding patients about their appointments.

 

Vanguard innovations

We have also captured many case studies of vanguard innovations.

East and North Hertfordshire is using Bluetooth technology that connects sensors to tablets to assess the risk of falling among care home residents.  Six people over the age of 65 will suffer a fall every minute and falls are one of the main causes of disability.

In Sunderland, tablets are being used to capture and share early warning signs that may lead to deterioration in the health of care home residents. This has reduced the number of unplanned visits to GPs, ambulance callouts, attendance at A&E and emergency hospital admission.

In Sunderland, tablets are being used to capture and share early warning signs that may lead to deterioration in the health of care home residents.

Helen Arthur    

You can read more of our case studies in New Care Models: Harnessing Technology which was published recently by our partners: NHS Providers, NHS Confederation, NHS Clinical Commissioners and the Local Government Association.

We’ve now arrived at a point where we can offer an easy-to-use and interactive tool that will help health and care services to calculate the potential return of investment for a technology-enabled care service, particularly focused on telehealth, telecare, telemedicine, telecoaching and self care apps.

Users can enter their own population data into the benefits realisation tool, examine the evidence and extrapolate costs and benefits in terms of quality of life and mortality.

 The tool, developed by mHabitat and York Health Economics Consortium, is being showcased in a webinar on Wednesday 13 December, 2-3pm. You can register here

 

As part of our joint progarmme to share learning from NHS vanguards, we are hosting a series of site visits for health and care leaders. Find out more and book your place here

We are hosting an event in Birmingham on 31 January 2017 to showcase learning from the vanguards and how lessons are being applied to the journey to accountable care. Book your place here.

 

About the author

Helen Arthur profile picture

Helen Arthur
New Care Models Programme technology lead

Helen has spent the last decade working in information and technology for the NHS, in a range of local, regional and national roles.

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