New care models: harnessing technology
Rising demand for services, constrained funding and a multitude of workforce challenges require us to think differently about the way we deliver health and care services to meet people’s needs and expectations. Digital tools are a key part of the answer to this set of challenges, and the NHS Five year forward view outlined ambitious plans to deliver a step-change in how health and care services use technology.
This publication explores how five vanguards are implementing innovative digital technology solutions at the heart of a new approach to care. They are:
- East and North Hertfordshire
- Better Care Together Morecambe Bay
- Better Together Mid Nottinghamshire
- Salford Together
- East Midlands Radiology Consortium
The report describes how the starting point for any project introducing new technology should be the perspective of the end users. Technological solutions should be co-produced with people who use services and clinicians to ensure that the solutions are anchored in their needs and experiences. Engaging staff in the development process, understanding how they work and want to work in future, and providing ongoing support and training, is crucial to the successful implementation of new digital technologies.
The experiences of these vanguards demonstrate that it is possible to overcome the many challenges to adopting digital technology in health and care, and use it to enable more efficient, integrated, precise and personalised care. In light of the national policy emphasis on enabling supported self-care and the shift towards out of hospital service provision, it is more important than ever before for health and care services to provide tools and information to support people and communities to have greater control over their own health and wellbeing. Digital technologies can drive, and underpin, care that is truly integrated around the needs of people – breaking down the barriers that have historically existed between primary, secondary and social care services.
When it comes to harnessing technology, local areas should ‘steal with pride’ and make use of learning and evidence from other areas. However new technological solutions need to be considered in the context of local needs, and anchored to wider change programmes across organisations and whole health and care systems. In isolation, small-scale technology projects will not bring about the fundamental shift envisioned in the Five year forward view. Teams should consider how they can make use of local place-based approaches that encourage collaboration across public services and capitalise on existing strengths and resources in the community.
We are working with NHS Confederation, NHS Clinical Commissioners and the Local Government Association to help spread the learning from the vanguard programme - find out more.