Vic Rayner, Executive Director, National Care Forum writes for SCIE, ahead of the NCF Annual Conference on 15-16 May 2017
I was very struck at a recent meeting, by the bold statement that the Care Centre of the future will be ME. The advances in technology and data sharing will mean that rather than the acute hospital or the care home being the nominated centre for my care – I will be able to carry it around on my shoulders (or more likely my wrist, or a chip under my skin).
What will this mean for care providers going forward?
As we begin to transfer our grasp of what we know about how personal data is used in a commercial setting – our now familiar understanding of how the retail and leisure sector use data to understand our needs and wants – and begin to understand what personal data could do to transform care – the possibilities flow. The idea that as personal data becomes portable, and pathways become transparent, that you can use this to take back more control of your own care is very appealing at one level, but mind-bendingly complex at another.
Our frustrations as professionals with the layers of multiple assessment, duplication and delay are nothing in comparison to what it feels like to be on the receiving end of this barrage. Imagine the scenario now where individuals facing professionals know as much about their personal history, what their results say and mean and what their respective combinations of medication can do. Is this a future that beckons? Yes - and one that is not far away. The steps towards this vision seem complicated and fraught with challenges around investment, workforce development, data protection and information governance. However, we are beginning to see examples of where this vision is coming to life. The ability to access your own personal health records, for example, has been extensively piloted, and will be available for all in the very near future. On reflection, it seems amazing in this current era, that we have accepted for this long that critical historic and current information about ourselves has only been readily accessible for the majority via a third party. I suspect that this move will unlock a wave of demand to access and control our personal data within health and care settings in a way that has not been seen before, and the care sector needs to be ready.
With this in mind, the NCF membership will continue their exploration of the role of data in social care. At our Annual Conference next week we have some of the care sector’s most insightful key thinkers joining us to unpack the potential, dissect the challenges and articulate the cultural changes needed to make this a reality.