2016 Conference Summary

International Technology Enabled Care Conference 2016

Our opening conference speaker was not the Minister, nor someone from a local authority or the NHS or a TV celebrity. 22 year old Molly Watt lives in the South of England with her dog and her wonderful family. She is an author, blogger, tech evangelist, accessibility consultant and fund raiser.

Molly has Usher Syndrome - the most common cause of congenital deafblindness. Her deafness was diagnosed at 18 months old. The Usher Syndrome diagnosis came at 12 years old followed by being registered legally blind / deafblind at just 14 years old. Yet with the help of digital hearing aids, an iPhone with apps, tablet, Apple watch and her assistance dog, she can get around town and keep up to date with all of her work interests and social activities.

In her inspiring conference presentation, Molly set out how technology can help people such as those with Usher Syndrome, live independently and enjoy life rather than be left feeling isolated.

With nearly 200 Twitter mentions for Molly, the conference audience clearly grasped the importance of how technologies available now in the UK can make such a difference to peoples’ lives.

Following Molly, in a short video presentation, Nicola Blackwood (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health) supported the conference’s aims and emphasised the recent Department of Health’s ‘Housing and Tech’ funding announcement.

George Crooks (Medical Director at NHS 24) followed the Minister and provided a useful update on the integration of health and care in Scotland which is mandated through legislation.  He also provided coverage of TECS developments in Scotland.

As part of the Connected Care, Connected Homes and Connected Communities theme, conference heard from David Orr (Chief Executive, National Housing Federation), Linda Sanders (ADASS lead for Assistive Technology and Strategic Director for People, Wolverhampton Council) and Bridget Warr (Chief executive, UK Home Care Association).

This session covered a wide range of issues including the importance of health and housing, the extent to which housing and local authorities are able to innovate, the importance of technology in supporting home care provision.

TSA are now working in partnership with a number of organisations across the health, housing, social care and public protection sectors to coordinate activities and share best practice through roundtable and other sessions.

The plenary sessions continued with Rob Webster (Chief Executive at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) considering what happens if the ‘NHS is more like the rest of our lives’. Rob provided many examples of digital resources available in Yorkshire eg mHealth Habitat, Airedale telemedicine hub supporting care homes. The area has many people and organisations developing innovations to change the way that care is delivered. He said that secondary care providers should have IT that works and information should be shared across platforms. Citizens, carers, service users should have digital technologies to manage their health and wellbeing. He said that we need to realise that we are a guest in peoples’ lives. 

We also need to recognise the power of communities such as People Driven Digital. We need to create the environment where change and innovation will happen. There are assets available to us if we would only reach out and embrace them. In his health trust there is a digital strategy that they co-produce with people. He stressed the importance of leadership.

Following Rob Webster, conference heard from Mark Allen, Strategic Commissioning Manager, Hampshire County Council, Adult Services Department and Steve Carefull, Director, PA Consulting Group.

At the conference, PA Consulting Group, trading as Argenti was announced as the winner of TSA Crystal Award which recognises excellence in Technology Enabled Care services in the UK.

Hampshire contributed to the TSA White Paper and there is plenty of information available about their model in the publicationSteve and Mark emphasised the need for a step change in the use of technologies to support transformation of social care in Hampshire. In Hampshire, just 500 people in 2012/13 received a telecare services in 2012/13. The total is now over 6800 people with high satisfaction ratings and a net saving of £4.7m over the last three years by reducing more costly care. Mark Allen explained the commissioning of new approaches and developments since 2012 – looking at risk, tech-agnostic arrangements and measuring outcomes. 

The main plenary sessions on Day One ended with Paul Burstow launching the White Paper. You can view a video of this presentation and read a one page summary

Day 2 of the conference started with another inspiring speaker, Roz Davies. Roz has kindly allowed the blog of her presentation on a ‘Patient-Driven Digital Prescription’ to be publishedRoz said that when considering using digital technology it is important to remember that it is an enabler, the means not the end, and that the end is to improve health and well-being. Every patient has a life beyond their condition/s including a unique set of talents, insights and ideas. 

It is important to understand that one size does not fit all and secondly to realise that patients bring with them a whole set of resources which could be unleashed and help to improve health and well-being through technology. Patients are so much more than their condition, that there is great value in recognising them as partners, leaders and experts and that the best technology solutions will be those that are co-created with patients.

Roz was followed by Beverley Bryant (Director of Digital Transformation, NHS Digital) who outlined the National Information Board’s programme relevant to TECS including the work being carried out on self-care, long term conditions, apps and social care. These are important areas that TSA will be connecting with.

Important partners for TSA include the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN). Dr Liz Mear (Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive, Innovation Agency) provided an extensive overview of the AHSN work in her own area in the North West and across the country to bring technology enabled care and innovation into mainstream services. Karen Taylor, (Research Director, UK Centre for Health Solutions, Deloitte) considered that a tipping point was being reached in the use of technology in health and care. Deloitte has published a number of useful documents that provide background, current trends, case examples in telecare, telehealth and digital health.

As well as looking at the progress made, she also looked at the barriers that still affect takeup (eg evidence, data security). but she felt that we are starting to see examples of empowered patients who are benefiting from the availability of technology.  Karen also contributed to the recent TSA White Paper.

In the next session, Carrie Lomas (Director, IoT, Cognitive Solutions EU, IBM) provided an overview of current and future digital health and care and gave some examples of how IBM have been involved in recent developments (eg IBM Watson). 

Wrapping up the conference plenary sessions, Dave Foster (Chair of the TSA Technology Steering Board) set out some of the main features of the constantly evolving TSA technology roadmap as the TEC industry moves further into digital.