NHS Digital backs care data exchange projects

Three funding streams to support work on improving exchange of information between clinical and social care teams and using predictive analytics to assess demand

NHS Digital has put up more than £1.5 million to support projects aimed at improving the exchange of data for integrated health and social care.

It has announced plans to allocate funds within three streams and is open for applications for support until 2 July.

The first stream totals £1.1 million for efforts to adopt or develop existing digital products and services for transferring information from clinical to adult social care teams. Organisations will be encouraged to use services such as NHSmail and the online medical discharge summary (MDS) given at the end of a hospital stay.

James PalmerJames Palmer (pictured), programme lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “Our engagement with the adult social care sector has demonstrated that when healthcare 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.”

The second stream for £233,000 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. This could include information about a person’s frailty index rating, recent hydration history, or other relevant measures.

Palmer said NHS Digital had established that care providers want to look at how their information could be used in clinical settings, and that the money would support efforts to establish what types would be helpful.

Invitation

For both funds, NHS Digital has invited applications from adult social care providers with voluntary or charity sector status and from local authorities in partnership with independent adult social care providers.

The final 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. Recipients will have to take into account the ethical implications, such as how people’s privacy, confidentiality and human rights will be preserved.

“The work that we’re asking applicants to undertake on predictive analytics is significant given its potential to support people at earlier stages,” Palmer said. “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.”

Commenting on the overall programme, he added: “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.

 

James Palmer is speaking at UKAuthority's Digital Health & Social Care Conference in London on Thursday 21 June. Find out more about this free event for the public sector and register here.