A new digital innovation Hubble Project from the National Care Forum (NCF) offers virtual visits to check out digital innovation in social care
The use of digital technology in care settings has rapidly expanded during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. From sensors to monitor residents remotely, to the use of video conferencing to keep family and friends in touch, many care settings and many care providers have really embraced the opportunity to speed up their digital journey.
But some continue to struggle to make the most of technology to improve the care they provide. Concerns about ethics, measurable benefits, how to go about choosing new technology, the costs of new tech and the return on investment and take up by staff and residents can get in the way.
A new project from membership organisation, the National Care Forum (NCF), with funding from NHS Digital’s Digital Pathfinders Programme, will help care providers to understand the benefits of technology, how to build a business case for investment, and how to successfully introduce, use and evaluate technology to improve the care they provide.
The Hubble Project offers senior decision makers the chance to virtually visit ‘innovation hubs’ via a series of webinars to learn how other care providers have introduced, used and evaluated digital technology to improve care. The sessions provide a real insight into how the digital tech in place in each hub improves the care provided – and how data from technology can help to provide truly person centred care, tailored to each individual, to improve overall wellbeing, take early preventative action, spot trends and patterns and improve management decisions. Other benefits of the technology are also explored, from the joy of going paperless to the power of data and intelligence in service audits and inspections. Whether care providers are at the start of using digital tech or want to explore how to enhance their current use of tech, a visit to the innovation hubs offers valuable insight.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of NCF, said: “The Hubble Project is very much peer-led. We know that care providers really value the direct experience of their colleagues – people who have been there and done that. So this project is about learning first hand from care providers – not technology suppliers. Our aim is to build the tech knowledge and confidence within the sector through these warts-and-all sessions, where care providers will share the lessons they have learned when
Virtual visitors will also have access to a range of resources after the visits, including a toolkit to support building a business case, getting buy in and implementation. The tech suppliers featured during the sessions are also offering participants a time-limited reduction on the cost of their technology.
The hubs were initially designed as physical visits but have been turned into virtual interactions due to COVID-19. Hosted by each of the hubs, the events feature filmed material and demonstrations, together with live panel discussions. Senior staff share their digital journeys – how they decided to commit resources to the use of technology, how and why they choose the tech they are now using and how it has improved the care they provide and the service that they offer. Frontline staff also share their insights – from initial scepticism to embracing the daily use of tech, while the views of residents/people using the care services and their family members give their perspective on the technology in action.
NCF’s Hubble Project is funded by NHS Digital’s Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant.
James Palmer, Social Care Programme Head at NHS Digital, said: “We are delighted that NCF is using this innovative approach. It is so valuable to share direct experiences of introducing and using tech and these virtual visits will be accessible to a greater number of organisations than a physical visit would have been.”
The hubs are based in three care settings in England and showcase a range of technologies including: electronic care planning, eMAR, acoustic monitoring, circadian lighting, sensor technology and telecare. There are 30 sessions in total – ten per ‘hub’, with a limited number of places available at each so that participants can have detailed discussions with staff from the hubs.
The sessions take place between now and early December 2020. They are primarily aimed at decision makers within residential settings, but will also be of value to home care and housing providers.
Bookings are now open for the 30 sessions. Visit the NCF website for details at: https://www.nationalcareforum.org.uk/the-hubble-project-digital-innovation-hubs/
PICTURE CAPTION: Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring system is among the technologies being showcased in 30 digital hubs