Technology must focus on outcomes, says former care minister

Individuals and their outcomes must be the starting point when implementing technological solutions in the health and social care sector.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the Digital Health and Social Care Congress 2018, Paul Burstow TEC (technology-enabled care) Services Association chair told delegates: ‘If you start with technology you are almost inevitably going to end up with the wrong solution. If you start with the person and talk about outcomes then you are more likely to be able to design a service that addresses those needs. That seems to me a key component.’

The former Liberal Democrat MP and minister of state for care services during the coalition government predicted a shortfall of 200,000 workers in the social care sector by 2020, which is going to lead to ‘significant issues’.

Ruth Rankine, deputy chief inspector of general practice at the Care Quality Commission, told delegates that a lot of services had been established around technology with the individual being an ‘afterthought’.

She said the role of the commission was to encourage and support innovation.

‘We are sitting on reports of tens of thousands of providers across health and social care and we are investing in software that allows us to trawl our system and analyse that information because those reports are full of examples of good practice and examples of what has worked well and what hasn’t worked well. We have a duty to share that and not reinvent the wheel,’ she said.

Rankine also pointed out that cultural and organisational barriers were not helping people who use health and care services. She said: ‘How do we use technology to break that down and drive collaboration and deliver joined-up care? We have to get that right and deliver a joined-up service.’