Ten projects to explore how tech can support new approaches in care at home and in the community

The Health Foundation has announced that it has selected ten teams to explore how technology can enable new approaches to care at home and in the community through its £2 million innovation ‘Tech for Better‘ programme, with projects focusing on topics such as how technology can support people taking multiple medications, how it can empower housebound individuals, and how it can assist in end-of-life care.

Malte Gerhold, director of innovation and improvement, states that the aim is “not only to get promising new ideas off the ground, but to demonstrate that by making the most of technology it is possible to deliver care in a way that is more proactive and focused on building supportive relationships, personally and within the community”. Overall, it is hoped that pilot approaches shown to be effective can be scaled and spread.

The ten projects include:

  • exploring how technology can enable self-directed support,  improving communication, reducing administrative burden and connecting individuals to a self-directed community (In Control and Care City)
  • designing a “relational and collaborative experience of receiving, giving and self-administered care” through use of wearable technology (Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust)
  • examining the potential for home-from-hospital link workers to use technologies to provide personalised support for people taking multiple medications (Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester Integrated Care Board)
  • looking at how technology-enabled care can support human and preventative aspects of fall care (voluntary and independent sector partners, North/South Health and Social Care Partnerships, and NHS Lanarkshire)
  • exploring how technology can support the home support service in the area to “foster care circles around people” through identification or creation of Internet of Things sensors to provide “meaningful data to inform and support a person’s care circle” (Powys County Council)
  • examining how technology can be used to support patients and loved ones by enabling access to palliative care and support at home (Rowcroft Hospice)
  • creating a new digital matching platform to tackle challenges to the growth of shared lives care, with the aim of enabling more people to benefit from it (Shared Lives Plus)
  • exploring whether a digital platform for neuropsychological rehabilitation could support community healthcare professionals in delivering care (St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
  • looking at how technology can be used to create a bank of virtual resources and social groups for more carers, providing holistic support for them to live well and stay well (St Rocco’s Hospice)
  • Developing “creative technology solutions that can empower patients, create peer support networks and enable social interaction between housebound people” (Sutton Primary Care Networks)

Last month, we shared a survey from the Health Foundation which found that of the 7,100 members of the public surveyed, there was “overall support” for virtual wards but an underlying lack of understanding “risks flowing the take-up of this model of care”.

In December, alongside NHS Confed, the Health Foundation shared practical improvement lessons to support leaders and teams in tackling winter pressures.