Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that investment will be made in adult social care to support local, digital projects to help people to live independently at home for as long as possible and improve information sharing across the NHS and social care.

The Government in England has promised to "bridge" the technology gap between the NHS and social care, with £4.5 million pledged for local authorities to develop digital projects to help people needing home care.

The investment could be used to, for example, create shared care records that combine medical and social care information, with NHS and care staff able to access the record; develop artificial intelligence with assistive technology, using sensors to establish normal behaviour for individuals, such as sleep patterns; and permit information held by care homes and home care agencies to "smoothly integrate" into hospital IT systems when a person is admitted to hospital.

The Government said the Care Quality Commission (CQC) would assess how well home care agencies, care homes and every other provider know what they need to do to be outstanding on technology in the 2020s.

A model of what excellence looks like will be developed so that every provider understands what they need to do. Trusts will also be expected to meet minimum technology standards and will be assessed under the CQC's inspection regime.

Care England Chief Executive Martin Green said: “Care England welcomes this announcement. It is a real step forward in implementing tech to create efficiencies and ensure quality to care helping people lead meaningful lives.

“The focus on easing communications between the NHS and social care will reap great rewards, and the Government must ensure that the benefits from greater efficiencies filter down to the social care providers who are investing their own money in new tech."

He added: "Technology, if used well, will give NHS staff and workers in social care the 'gift of time' to care rather than administrate.”

Last reviewed 7 January 2020