As flagged in our recent blogpost there are nearly 300,000 people awaiting social care assessments, care and support, or reviews – an increase of 26% over the last three months.
Recent coverage has also highlighted the workforce and capacity challenges facing providers – both internal and commissioned – all of which is undermining financial sustainability. Simply providing (limited) additional funding will not shift the dial or help better marry demand with supply. So, what could?
One aspect is improved use of technology enabled care (TEC). Many authorities are already using TEC or technology, and so the key question for us is how can it better used to:
- Gain greater insights into people’s behavioural and wellbeing, and use these insights and data to support more evidence-based interventions.
- Improve prioritisation and focus of care, including from post-hoc to more preventative and predicted support, that stops people ‘going up the acuity hill’ – and supports them coming back down too.
- Release capacity that currently relies too much on only human interaction
- Reduce the risk of those insufficiently supported, and ultimately;
- Deliver a better outcome and experience for each person in the system
Whilst having the right technology is important (more passive, real time, aggregated whole person monitoring, not single button pressing – all underpinned by the right data science) our view is that there is often too much focus on technology and not enough on genuine change and impact. Just because you have a great microwave, it does not mean you are a good chef.
Our experience and insights from working with local authorities and health organisations therefore supports the need to:
- Establish a shared ambition for what we are solving for – having the end in mind will enable the best outcomes to be identified and delivered.
- Co-design with ‘consumers’ and providers – not simply consultation or ‘providers know best’ – co-production from the start.
- Focus on the required behavioural change at the front line – of both care providers and recipients. Change will only happen by doing different things, not simply tweaking the here and now.
- Wrap this change into a new operating model – not a hierarchical structure, but a new way of system-wide working.
- Use data insights that are incredibly powerful – but only if they are analysed and drawn upon to triangulate knowledge. A 360-degree view is needed to inform new responses, and to ultimately keep people well and at home.
- Work across commissioner and provider communities – join up and draw upon insights, working as a genuine and collaborative partnership as flagged in our recent blog.
- Manage trajectories drawing on the outcomes that matter and the impact achieved – learn and iterate appropriately.
These are the things that will make a difference and help deliver better outcomes that cost less – addressing both demand and financial sustainability challenges.
IMPOWER has supported local authorities for years in the social care space. We have a passion for delivering sustainable impact that matters – especially for vulnerable people. Our EDGEWORK approach, enhanced by technology enabled care (TEC) and data science, all embedded within our Valuing Home programme, has enabled us to deliver significant impact in the Home First space. We recognise that change management is not a simple thing – but we are very focused on embracing that complexity to secure better outcomes that cost less.