Hft to roll out digital project after receiving grant

Hft is one of 16 organisations that will receive a share of £4.5m to help roll out digital projects on a wider scale.

The charity will introduce its My Health Guide app for people with learning disabilities across large user groups.

The app allows people to capture healthcare information in the format that works best for them, ranging from text and images to video or audio. Information used to manage issues such as communication, anxiety, epilepsy and dietary needs can then be shared with support workers, health professionals and families, ensuring relevant information can be accessed and stored in one place.

It has been used by NHS trusts, local authorities and independent social care providers, and will be rolled out in Bristol and Devon from April.

The 16 organisations have been selected to receive a Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant, which supports products and services that have already been piloted in small local areas – with the view to implementing them on a larger scale.

They will start a 13-month implementation phase with projects predominantly looking at standardising information and developing digital ways of sharing that information between health and care organisations.

The investment is managed by NHS Digital as part of its transformation portfolio and supports the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock’s vision for interoperability and openness, open standards and appropriate infrastructure.

Emma Nichols, Hft personalised technology manager, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been awarded a grant which will allow us to roll out this app, which is designed to empower people with learning disabilities to have greater control over the support they receive.

‘People with learning disabilities often receive support from a range of stakeholders, and this project aims to bridge the gap between health and social care, with people, support workers and health professionals able to log medical appointments, vital health information and preferences on how people like to be supported.’

Former Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: ‘Bridging the technology gap between the NHS and social care is a central part of achieving a health and care service that is fit for the future. This £4.5m investment will support local areas to improve information sharing across services, ensuring people avoid hospital unless absolutely necessary and helping everyone live independently for longer.’

Examples of other pathfinder projects include South Gloucestershire Council and London Borough of Sutton, which are both working to recognise care homes as partners in care by developing the ‘digital red bag’, while Wirral Council is working to scale up the digital discharge process for hospital patients who require care and support when they are discharged.