Health bosses have announced plans to allocate £4.5m in funding to local authorities to ‘bridge the technology gap’ between the NHS and social care.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said the cash boost will allow local authorities to develop digital adult social care projects to support the most vulnerable in society to live independently for longer and improve information sharing across the NHS and social care.
He said the money could be used to fund artificial intelligence with assistive technology which will use sensors to establish normal behaviour for individuals, such as sleep patterns, use of kettles and walking routes, and to carers where there are variances.
The funding could also go towards creating shared care records which combine both medical and social care information, with NHS and care staff able to access the record. And to allow information held by the care homes to smoothly integrate into hospital IT systems as a person is admitted to hospital.
To further improve the digital capability of NHS trusts, a new ‘digital aspirant’ programme will be set up which health bosses say will provide funding over several years.
The programme will assist with digital transformation projects so that trusts can provide safe, high-quality and efficient care. And will aim to raise the bar across the NHS by making sure organisations have a core set of capabilities in place.
The Health and Social Care Secretary will also commit to designing a model of what excellence looks like, so that every provider – from mental health trusts to care homes – knows what they need to do to be outstanding on technology in the 2020s.
This will be assessed as part of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection regime, with trusts expected to meet minimum technology standards.
Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I want to harness the best digital technology to improve care for patients and ease the burden on our staff.
‘This investment is committed to driving forward the most basic frontline technology upgrades, so treatment can be delivered more effectively and we can keep pace with the growing demand on the NHS’
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