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Connected Communities, Connected Care

 

By Alyson Scurfield, Chief Executive of TSA

20 November 2017

 

Amongst the many health IT events each year, the International Technology Enabled Care conference stands out for its special focus on the people who will benefit the most from innovative solutions – users, patients and carers who can be supported to remain independent through simple cost-effective, person-centred solutions.

 

And this year was no exception with an exciting line-up of plenary speakers from leading UK health and care organisations alongside digital leaders with lived experience, high quality breakout sessions (including project submissions following a call for papers) and interactive stages and zones with a wide range of exhibitors offering innovative digital solutions.

 

It is always encouraging to share current learning and practice with a diverse audience from acrossthe health, housing and social care sectors particularly at a time when organisations across the UK are facing multiple challenges.

 

TSA’s 2016 White Paper focused on the importance of ‘Putting People First’ and this became the main theme for this year. It is clear that the big gains in the digital future will be in more community-based, preventative, personalised health, care and wellbeing approaches for the wider population as well as those who have an assessed need.

 

Moving to more integrated record systems will take several more years, whilst someone leaving hospital today can benefit immediately from personalised technology enabled care as they return home.

 

The new White Paper, Connecting People, Improving Lives: A Digital Future for Technology Enabled Care?, sets out a digital vision in which there is even greater potential to connect people, their homes and their communities through internet-based systems using home WiFi and 5G networks.

 

With over 15 million people in the UK with long term conditions, over 6 million people providing carer support and never before experienced pressures on health and care, more radical approaches are needed.

 

In the digital world six months is a long time. Leaders can be found on social media as well as in established organisations and small start-ups can disrupt well-established industries overnight.

 

There are now fresh opportunities through the annual TSA conference and contributions to the wider UK tech event calendar to take the important benefits of digital TECS to a wider audience.

 

An upcoming roadmap and plan are vital along with trusted sources to enable commissioners, providers and consumers to move forward with confidence.

 

Supported by evidence-based, cost-effective approaches and good practice, it is vital to build on the number of existing TECS champions and leaders along with progressing the important complementary work of TSA’s diverse range of partner organisations.

 

Over the next few years, TSA will take a leading role in leveraging the opportunities of digital TECS set out in the White Paper to make connected care and connected communities a reality.