Organisations working in tandem with health and care providers are being encouraged to explore new ways of joining up clinical and social care data through funding from NHS Digital.
Local authorities, adult social care providers, researchers and academic institutions have been invited to apply for a share of £1.58m split into three “streams” to fund new means of digitising the flow of information between adult social care and health settings.
An initial funding stream of £1.1m will be offered to ‘demonstrator areas’ that adopt or develop systems for transferring clinical data into social care environments.
Applicants will be encouraged to use pre-existing digital NHS technologies to facilitate this, including NHSmail and the online Medical Discharge Summary (MDS).
A second grant of £233,000 will be offered to organisations to “investigate what information is currently flowing from adult social care into health systems and what more might be needed to improve joined up care.”
By way of example, NHS Digital said this could include data regarding measurements such as a person’s frailty index rating.
A final grant of £250,000 will be made available to fund research and development of predictive analytics capabilities that can help predict long-term social care needs, or otherwise help prevent them.
However, this must be done with a high regard for people’s privacy and confidentially in mind, NHS Digital said.
James Palmer, programme lead for the social care programme at NHS Digital said the aim of the third funding stream was to “understand both how predictive analytics could and should be used in the provision of social care.”
He added: “The work that we’re asking applicants to undertake on predictive analytics is significant given its potential to support people at earlier stages. We know that this is an area fraught with ethical considerations that have not yet been clearly defined or agreed.”
The deadline for applications is Monday 2 July. In order to qualify for the grants, applicants must demonstrate a “strong commitment for the project from their chosen health partner,” NHS Digital said.
In May, the organisation put £1m up for grabs for local authorities that put forward projects designed to benefit people who access adult social care
Lyn Romeo, chief social worker for adults at the department for health and social care, added: “This funding is important in improving people’s experience of social care.
“Timely access to accurate information is essential to supporting the efficient co-ordination of person-centred care. This includes for example what medication people are taking, what allergies people might suffer from and any personal preferences people have in how they are looked after.
“This can all be delivered so much more quickly and accurately by the digital transfer of records through secure channels, or by more intelligent use of data, whilst maintaining privacy, respecting confidentiality and upholding people’s rights.
“I would urge eligible organisations across the country to step forward and be part of helping to bridge the current information gap between health care and social care settings.”
For more information and to apply, click here, go to ‘Current Opportunities’ and select ‘Digital Social Care Demonstrators’.