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NHS pledges £1.5mn to digitise the information between adult social care and health providers

NHS Digital has announced that it is set to provide three streams of funding to invest in the need for integrated care to ensure positive patient experi...

Catherine Sturman
|Jun 14|magazine11 min read

NHS Digital has announced that it is set to provide three streams of funding to invest in the need for integrated care to ensure positive patient experiences across the entire healthcare spectrum of services.

Local authorities will work alongside adult social care services and academics groups and can apply for funding to enhance data sharing capabilities across the healthcare industry.

The first £1.1mn funding stream will be provided for ‘demonstrator areas’ to adopt or develop digital products and services which can transfer information from clinical into adult social care settings, with the goal to increase both quality and efficiency of care, NHS Digital has stated.

Organisations will also be encouraged to utilise existing technologies, such as secure email service NHSmail and the online Medical Discharge Summary (MDS) given upon patient discharge.

A second £233,000 funding stream will be for providers who wish to look deeper into how, and what information moves from one stream to the other, and the ways in which data sharing can be improved to provide a seamless pathway.

Applicants from both adult social care with voluntary or charity sector status and local government authorities in partnership with adult social care are invited to participate in the funding rounds, but must be committed to the project.

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The third £250,000 funding stream will be provided to local authorities and research organisations to look at how predictive analytics can lead to enhanced prevention, or prediction of long-term patient needs, particularly for those with long-term health conditions.  

Additionally, organisations will be required to look at the ethical implications in relation to the use of predictive analytics in social care, with regards to patient confidentiality and human rights laws.

“Demonstrators will be chosen on the basis that their work could be replicated easily to deliver benefits quickly for the system and pave the way for a truly integrated future,” explained James Palmer, Programme Lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital.

“The work that we’re asking applicants to undertake on predictive analytics is significant given its potential to support people at earlier stages. We know that this is an area fraught with ethical considerations.

“Through the provision of this funding, we want to begin to understand both how predictive analytics could and should be used in the provision of social care.”

Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department for Health and Social Care, added: “Timely access to accurate information is essential to supporting the efficient co-ordination of person-centred care.

“This can all be delivered much more quickly and accurately by the digital transfer of records through secure channels, or by more intelligent use of data, whilst maintaining privacy, respecting confidentiality and upholding people’s rights.”