A drive to expand the use of digital technology in social care could lead to more than £125 million worth of benefits, NHS Digital has said.
Analysis of NHS Digital’s Social Care Programme found that new ways of working will reduce hospital admissions and GP visits, as well as improve quality of life.
The programme, which aims to harness the power of information and technology to help England’s social care sector care for people more and effectively and efficiently, started in 2016 with an investment of £23 million.
It has since funded over 100 projects, including the the development of apps, the roll out of new robotic technology to help carers and tools to reduce the risk of falls.
NHS Digital said projects driven by the programme are expected to result in benefits equivalent to £127 million over their lifespan.
James Palmer, Programme Head of the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “We are delighted to see the impact that digital technology introduced through our programme has already had on people’s lives and the multitude of benefits it will bring in the years to come, both on individuals and on the wider health and social care sector.
“Our approach throughout has been led by users of the services and we have worked collaboratively with care providers and local authorities, which has given us high confidence they can deliver outcomes and benefits for those commissioning, providing and receiving care.”
Through another project, the Digital Social Care Pathfinders, new digital tools were adopted by participating providers to transform care.
Other providers can now benefit from these innovations, such as a monitor which sends health data from service users to GP systems, then uses artificial intelligence to predict their care needs.
Last year, the National Care Forum launched a project under the programme that allows providers to make ‘virtual visits’ to other settings making the most of digital technology.
The Hubble Project enables senior decision makers the chance to visit ‘innovation hubs’, via webinar, to learn how other care providers have introduced, used and evaluated digital technology to improve care.