A share of £4.8 million is available to organisations that provide and commission adult social care to help them roll out digital programmes on a wider scale.

NHS Digital opened applications for the Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant on April 1.

The grant is for products and services that have already been piloted in local areas, or have a strong evidence base, with a view to implementing them in larger areas.

The selected candidates will begin with a four-month development phase followed by a 13-month implementation phase, should the project prove successful.

Pam Garraway, senior responsible officer for the social care programme at NHS Digital, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the social care sector to see their local digital projects rolled out on a wider scale; potentially benefiting the whole health and social care sector.

“Applicants should have already successfully piloted a solution in their area or have a strong evidence base of need.

“This investment will then support them in scaling up across multiple organisations that can reuse and share successful solutions in the wider area or elsewhere.”

There are two main themes applicants should follow.

The first being; use of standards to support whole health and care system interoperability, for example:

  • sharing of information across the health and social care system to support efficient access to care, and for direct care
  • real time event alerts that notify a social care provider when a citizen receiving social care support has been admitted to hospital, discharged from hospital and other appropriate flags
  • removal of fax machines from care providers through the implementation of appropriate safe and secure messaging platforms between health, care providers and local authorities

The second; use of data for the prevention of escalating social care needs and for early intervention of those at risk of requiring social care, for example:

  • predictive modelling for adult social care demands and needs across a population
  • using data to highlight those whose combination of health, social and environmental indicators means that they are at higher risk of losing their independence

Applications can be made by adult social care providers with not for profit status, local authorities and academic organisations based in England.

Partnerships and consortiums are welcomed and encouraged.

The deadline for applications is 22 May at 5pm.

This is not the first time NHS Digital has offered funding for digital social care projects.

In February 2019, Digital Health News reported on how the organisation was offering more than £1million as part of the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme (SCDIP).