Assistive technology needs to become “mainstream” in adult social services says new report
“For local authorities, the use of AT is not just about providing effective care for individuals, but is increasingly about developing and delivering innovation-led digital health and care solutions which provide new, more efficient, and effective models for health and care management in the community" Cllr Keith Glazier, Health and Social Care spokesperson for CCN
Calls for a new framework and funding to make assistive technology “mainstream” in adult social care services, including providing the infrastructure to roll it out effectively in rural areas, have been made by the County Councils Network (CCN).
CCN’s new report, Employing Assistive Technology in Adult Social Care, recommends government to: “Encourage greater co-creation of solutions through adult social care professionals and technology developers working collaboratively.”
Other key recommendations include:
The report, supported by Tunstall Healthcare, was drawn up following a survey of CCN’s 36 member authorities, a roundtable of experts involved in the delivery of social care services, and a review of review of the relevant literature.
The survey found three quarters (75%) of councils said the benefits of assistive technology (including telehealth and telecare) are being partially realised within their authorities, almost two thirds (65%) have an assistive technology strategy in place, and 50% believe that their strategy is proactive in supporting their citizens’ situations, needs, and conditions.
However, the report also found that more can be done to place AT at the centre of local adult social care, and that rurality, costs, and a lack of knowledge are significant barriers.
Cllr Keith Glazier, Health and Social Care spokesperson for CCN, said:
“For local authorities, the use of AT is not just about providing effective care for individuals, but is increasingly about developing and delivering innovation-led digital health and care solutions which provide new, more efficient, and effective models for health and care management in the community.
“The increasing potential for employing technology at scale and utilising data offers a tantalising possibility of having a significant impact on the way care is delivered; achieving better outcomes for vulnerable people of all ages, in a more cost effective way than more traditional models of care provision.”
He added, the report offered “much food for thought “as to how AT could be further embedded in local systems – but it could only be done with the right settings in place.
The report also suggested councils should have parity of esteem with health partners in Integrated Care Systems, to assist in an effective rollout of large-scale AT across health and care, and these bodies should keep within council boundaries as much as possible to reduce inefficiency.
Gavin Bashar, UK Managing Director of Tunstall Healthcare, said:
“There has long been a missed opportunity to harness the potential of technology to transform the way we deliver care, and this has been clearly evidenced during the pandemic.
“In order to create a truly integrated health and care system, resourcing proven technologies and making their appropriate use standard practice is crucial to ensuring services are fit for the future.”
Future Care Capital has published two research reports into the care sector and two more are planned.