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Technology’s role in making the vision of integrated health and social care a reality

Technology could play a big role in the integration of health and social care but what is needed to realise its potential?

ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) and Capita One brought together seven directors of adult social services for a roundtable discussion in London to find out.

Since the government announced its vision of integrating health and social care by 2020, the topic has topped local authority agendas. A joined-up health and care system carries the promise of allowing people with health needs to live independently for longer and have their needs considered as a whole, rather than compartmentalised into medical or social care needs.

But the job of bringing the NHS and local social services together faces a number of challenges and one of the key challenges involved is how to best harness technology to enable the delivery of effective integrated health and social care.

With this in mind, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) held a roundtable in June, in partnership with Capita One, to discuss the cultural and technical requirements of successful integration and how technology could help.

Roundtable participants:

  • Chair: Harold Bodmer, former director of adult social services, Norfolk County Council, and president, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)
  • Liz Bruce, director of adult social services, Tri-Borough
  • Aileen Buckton, director of adult social services, Lewisham Council
  • Ed Fretwell, chief technical architect, Capita One
  • David Pearson, director of adult social services, Nottinghamshire County Council and honorary treasurer, ADASS
  • Phil Porter, director of adult social services, Brent Council
  • John Powell, director of adult social services, Redbridge Council
  • Grainne Siggins, director of adult social services, Newham Council and policy lead, ADASS
  • Simon Tobias, director, Capita One 

What was clear from the discussion was agreement from the participants that technology has a major role to play in making the goal of integrated health and social care a reality. Linking up different IT systems could overcome many of the barriers to the sharing of information, and telehealth could be vital in enabling people to continue living in the community while helping services cope with rising demand.

Realising this potential, however, is about more than just a question of what technology to use. It needs health and social care to work in new ways, computer systems that cross the boundary between the two services and security measures that ensure people’s personal data is well protected.

But the promise is there and technology is well placed to finally make the vision of integrated social care and health services a reality.

One vision - technology’s role in making the vision of integrated health and social care a reality is sponsored by Capita One. Content was agreed in partnership with ADASS, which independently commissioned and edited the report.

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