After last week’s dancing
May, this week we
have the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care drawing on his back
catalogue of Tracy Chapman hits to highlight his love of technology. When Matt
Hancock explains in his most recent
speech delivered at Expo that he is ‘Talking about (sic) a
revolution’, I suspect he is not referring to the same peoples uprising
revolution of Ms Chapman.
You may recall when Mr Hancock
took office, his
priorities were – in this
order – Workforce, Technology and Prevention.
What is abundantly clear to
all in social care, in order for social care to be a real and practical partner
in this technological revolution with health, we really are going to have to
run, run, run – to catch up!
Innovations in social care
I was also in Manchester last
week, hosting the Expo mainstage on Innovation, and had an opportunity to hear
the presentation of Matthew Swindells, the Deputy Chief Executive talking with
passion about the significant milestones planned for the next few months, which
will transform the interface with health – both business to business and
business to customer.
The raft of initiatives was
impressive, and the overall sense that the time for debate on ‘rights and
wrongs’ was well and truly passed. This needed to happen, and needed to happen
at scale and pace if the UK health system was not to fall further behind and
decimate our long held notion of ‘world class’ health.
So where does that leave us in
Where will the pressure come
to transform our varied and fragmented relationships with technology?
Those providers with a touch
point with health may already be finding themselves under significant pressure
to comply with Information Governance requirements in relation to the Data
Security and Protection Toolkit.
Snatched conversations with
colleagues at Expo suggest the push to get social care providers enrolled with
NHS mail, to enable the interchange of both personal and clinical data, will be
increasing significantly; colleagues in health are keen to capitalise on the
benefits associated with more timely, swift and secure exchange.
This view is certainly backed
up the Secretary of State who noted in his presentation at Expo ‘The social care system is not at all
integrated, when it’s integration is vital’. Then of course, there are
those in areas of the country where commissioners are pushing forward with
changes in their vision of services, putting technology firmly at the heart of
future independent living arrangements.
On top of that, we have the
personal transformation in people’s experience of being supported by technology
to live their everyday lives – whether it is ordering their shopping, setting
their heating, communicating with loved ones and professionals or managing
large aspects of their daily lives.
We do need to run, and I would
suggest take that leap forward, past the debates which still wager on
determining whether or not technology has a place in the delivery of care. It is not if, it is when – and we need
to be clear when the revolution does come knocking on our door, we know what we
want the final outcome to be.
Matt Hancock asserts his
revolution is reliant on 10% technology and 90% culture – and the case studies
on digital leaders within the care sector would reinforce that belief. The
culture of care is based on a clear set of values and principles around how we
should work, determine quality, support independence and deliver person centred
care; we need to be clear how we embed the technological solutions that can and
are delivering better care where they are used into the everyday delivery of
The Secretary of State says of
the NHS “The culture of adoption has to
change too for this digital age. The culture of the NHS is understandably that
clinical trials take time so we should adopt new ideas only once robustly and
repeatedly tested. Yet a new generation of technology has arrived that can be
rapidly adopted, rapidly assessed, and rapidly iterated. Of course, all this
must be based on evidence: something isn’t good simply because it’s “new”. It’s
good, because it works.”
Interestingly in social care,
we have not been beholden to a rigid quantitative evidence based to determine
change within delivery, choosing to make changes based on more qualitative
analysis that talks about the ‘why’ from the view of the citizen.
The need to listen – and the need to give feedback
We need to listen to people,
to build on those many stories we all know where fragmented systems, delayed
information exchange, physical barriers to independent living, long distance
relations unable to connect and many more – where technology can already
A starting point for giving
feedback is the Government’s newly launched digital platfrom ‘TalkHealthandCare’. Here health and care staff can give ideas and experiences about the five
‘key chalenges’, thereby enabling the Government to gain a deeper understanding
of what staff would like to change now.
The message from Matt Hancock is this revolution cannot come soon enough. Our message to him needs to be to help us walk, and then given the right support (and he is clear he has 'our back'), we most certainly run with the revolutionary best of them.