Funding to digitise care to NHS information flow

NHS Digital has opened bidding for new funding to enable better sharing of social care and clinical information and data.

Designed to support integrated care and positive outcomes for people accessing social care and health services, the first funding stream, which is worth £1.1 million, is aimed at ‘demonstrator areas’ to adopt or develop digital products to transfer information from clinical into adult social care settings, with the aim of increasing the quality and efficiency of care. This includes using existing digital technology such as NHSmail and the online Medical Discharge Summary (MDS) given at the end of a hospital stay.

Worth £233,000, the second stream is to investigate what information is currently flowing from adult social care into health systems and what more might be needed to improve joined up care. The final funding stream of £250,000 is for local authorities and research organisations to explore and demonstrate the use of predictive analytics to prevent or predict long-term social care need.

James Palmer, programme lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “Our engagement with the adult social care sector has demonstrated that when health care settings share existing, appropriate clinical information with those delivering care in residential and home settings, it can result in better support for people accessing services. The first funding stream is designed to make that information transfer happen and monitor the outcomes.

“We have also established that there is an appetite within care providers to explore how the information they hold could be used in clinical settings to benefit patients. However, we don’t yet know what information might be helpful in a clinical setting. The second stream of funding is intended to encourage health organisations to work with social care partners to explore how information might need to flow the other way, from adult social care into health.

“These 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. 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 that have not yet been clearly defined or agreed. 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.”

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