North East and North Cumbria ICB reports on progress made in digitising social care

North East and North Cumbria ICB has reported on the progress made towards digitisation of social care, following nearly £2 million in funding from the Department of Health and Social Care that has been distributed across the region to support adult social care in the transition to digital records and technology.

The ICB highlights that the first year of the programme has enabled direct grant funding for 83 adult social care providers, 70 residential adult settings and 13 community-based acute social care services, to support their implementation of digital social care record technology.

11 pilot projects have also been approved and funded to support local authorities in implementing future care technology or independent living technology.

There is still funding available for adult social care providers to support implementation of sensor-based falls technology, and evaluations are planned in the coming months on digital social care record implementation and future care technology.

Rebecca McIntosh, senior project manager, comments that the ICB, alongside the digital social care support team, has “worked closely with social care providers during this time to highlight the wide-ranging benefits of adopting digital technology to record care information. The appetite to embrace these changes has been very encouraging, as is evidenced by the number of care providers that have accessed funding and support through our project so far.”

Professor Graham Evans, executive chief digital and information officer, adds: “It is really good to see such investment and improvements being made to the digital offer in social care. Health and care services are so closely linked, and whilst we have made significant progress in digital health, it is imperative that our social care partners do not get left behind. Having a connected and interoperable health and care system, only works when everyone can share information and plan the best care for the people we serve. I look forward to seeing how the programme progresses in the coming years.”

Earlier in the year, we covered the the news that the ICS was launching a pilot designed to identify patients with high cholesterol through use of a finger prick blood test, lateral flow device and an app, with Professor Julia Newton commenting that the test “has the potential to transform the way we deliver CVD risk assessments and diagnose patients, making it more accessible to people who have previously struggled to engage with the process.”

Last year we also highlighted how the ICS was using digital tools to help reduce their waiting list backlog, including a digital endoscopy unit and the introduction of uniportal robotic lung surgery which aimed to get patients walking on the same day as their treatment.