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Tech for Better Care A programme exploring the potential for using technology to enable care at home and in the community.

Tech for Better Care programme icon

This programme is closed for applications.

  • The Health Foundation has launched an exciting new £2 million programme which is exploring the potential for using technology to enable care at home and in the community. 
  • We have chosen 10 teams from across the UK to develop, test and pilot promising new ideas.
  • The projects are focusing on the caring and enabling relationships needed between those who deliver care and those who receive care, and on care that is proactive in supporting people to live a better and more independent life where possible.
  • The projects began in September 2023 and will run for 18 months.

The care system in the UK is under immense pressure, resulting in care that’s falling short of expectations for staff, carers (paid and unpaid) and care recipients.  

New approaches to care are needed, and with that an opportunity to think more long-term about the kind of care that we want in the future: care that puts the recipients’ needs at the centre; care that focuses on relationships rather than transactions; and care that’s proactive rather than reactive. Technology is an exciting enabler to making this happen.  

Finding the time and resource to make progress on ideas is challenging, especially given the current pressures on time, resource, and capacity. Which is why the Health Foundation has developed the new Tech for Better Care funding programme.

Aim of the programme

We launched this exciting new £2 million programme to explore the potential for using technology to enable care at home and in the community. 

The Tech for Better Care programme is supporting 10 teams from across the UK over 18 months to develop, test and pilot care that focuses on the caring and enabling relationships needed between those who deliver and those who receive care, and on care that is proactive in supporting people to live a better and more independent life where possible.

The programme is supporting the teams through a three-phase innovation process where they will initially explore opportunities and develop ideas. The most promising ideas will then be supported to test and pilot their new approaches. The three phases are:

  • Phase 1: Explore opportunities and develop ideas 
  • Phase 2: Test and refine ideas  
  • Phase 3: Pilot of idea(s) 

From May to October 2022 the Health Foundation commissioned PUBLIC to help us understand the complex topic of technology enabled care at home and in the community, and in what ways a new Health Foundation programme could make a difference. The final report Technology enabling new models of care in the home or community: analysis recommendations (authored by Liam Cahill on behalf of PUBLIC) brings together the findings from interviews and workshops with those who receive care, deliver care and decision makers at provider, system and national levels. Insights and recommendations from the report and our work together with PUBLIC resulted in the first iteration of the Tech for Better Care programme.

Projects – phase 1

  • In Control and Care City: Mechanisms for self-directed support such as personal care budgets can empower and enable people to realise greater independence. However, various factors have impeded people’s ability to optimise this support. This project will explore how technology can enable self-directed support, reduce administrative burden, improve communication and connect individuals to a self-directed community. 
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust: This project will explore how people might be enabled and empowered to gather the highest value health data and collaborate to signal and address their needs. This has the potential to help them manage their own health better, together with their different care teams. It will look at designing a relational and collaborative experience of receiving, giving and self-administering care, using wearable technology solutions, in order to connect the patient, care teams and wider network of problem solvers. 
  • Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester Integrated Care Board: Many older people are prescribed six or more medications and non-adherence can be a problem. There are smart or intelligent assistive technologies that could support people with sensory or cognitive impairments to take their medications. This project will explore the potential for home from hospital link workers using these new digital technologies to provide personalised support for people who are taking multiple medications. Working with Bristol City Council, AgeUK Bristol and BANES, and The University of West of England, the initial focus will be on understanding the scale of the problem. 
  • Voluntary and independent sector partners, North/South Health and Social Care Partnerships, and NHS Lanarkshire: Assistive technology is increasingly being used to detect falls but doesn’t routinely identify or manage risk or cause including considering the overlap between falls and syncope (fainting). This project will explore how technology enabled care can support both the human and preventative aspects of falls care. It will focus on those who currently or may in the future access or draw on social care or telecare and are at highest risk of falls. 
  • Powys County Council: This project will explore how technology can support the council’s Home Support Service to foster care circles around people in Powys, providing enhanced relational and proactive support. It will involve identifying or creating Internet of Things sensors that provide meaningful data to inform and support a person’s care circle, and development of an application to store and process the data.
  • Rowcroft Hospice: This project, focused on end-of-life care, will explore how technology can be used to support patients, and those closest to them, at the end of their life to access palliative care and support at home. This is important for those groups of patients who can’t get access to community hospice palliative care support, such as the frail elderly, those with dementia, or those living in rural or coastal areas.
  • Shared Lives Plus: The UK membership charity for people living and working in Shared Lives care or Homeshare will create a new digital matching platform which will address challenges to the growth of Shared Lives (the safest and highest quality form of social care) by providing an opportunity for more people who may be on the edge of crisis to benefit from day or respite support within Shared Lives. In this relatively unexplored area, the platform will boost recruitment and allow people who are seeking support to be rapidly matched with those who can provide support. 
  • St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Hidden disabilities such as poor memory and planning are some of the most distressing experiences for people with a brain injury. Neuropsychological rehabilitation is therefore a much sought-after service for people living with these long-term neurological conditions. However, accessing these services can be challenging. This project will explore whether a digital platform for neuropsychological rehabilitation can be used to support community healthcare professionals to deliver more effective care and whether it be integrated into the care pathway and then scaled up to meet current demand. 
  • St Rocco’s Hospice: Carers of palliative patients often feel fatigued and isolated and can experience burn-out. This project will look at how technology can be used to share a bank of virtual resources, carer sessions, clinics and social groups with many more carers. This would provide holistic support for carers to live well and stay well,and be reached before they become fatigued or depressed.  
  • Sutton Primary Care Networks: Adults who are housebound are often socially isolated, have unmet care needs, suffer from higher mortality, and can struggle with access to proactive care. This project will involve finding creative technology solutions that can empower patients, create peer support networks and enable social interaction between housebound people, improve communication between patients and care providers, and allow remote monitoring. 

Projects – phase 2

Sutton Virtual Community

  • Improvement project

This project will involve developing a virtual space that can empower people who are lonely, create peer support networks and enable social interaction.

Tech for better self-directed support

  • Improvement project

This project will involve the co-design of a digital platform for mutual support, ‘Thrive’, with the aim of using technology to offer guidance and inspiration at all stages of people’s self-directed s...

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