Conference commenced with CEO Alyson Scurfield and President Paul Burstow meeting and greeting exhibitors and headline partners around the exhibition hall, setting the scene for what attendees could expect at the UK’s seminal conference for TEC.
Hall 1 auditorium hosted the plenary speakers and the presentations opened with the critical launch of TSA’s Leadership Report by Alyson and Paul, where they clearly set out TSA’s strategic priorities for the next five years – Data, Workforce Development and Partnerships - and a rallying cry to the wider sector to follow.
Next up was CAREGiver of the Year Mike Bradbury who gave a touching account of his journey to becoming a full time carer and how he impacted the lives of each individual under his watch. Day One also saw a global contribution from Dr Rafael Bengoa about how his corner of Spain has implemented a truly integrated TEC system with inspiring results.
Dementia was the focus of Alzheimer’s Society’s CEO Jeremy Hughes’ presentation and how technology is evidenced as perfectly married to helping those inflicted with this chronic condition. Following that was an insightful panel debate about the increasingly relevant issue of Standards within the TEC sector offered by heavyweights TEC Quality President David Pearson CBE; Madeleine Starr, Director of Business Development and Innovation, Carers UK; Prof Mahmood Adil, Medical Director, NHS National Services Scotland, and Mick Ward, Chief Officer Transformation and Innovation at Leeds City Council.
The theme of the afternoon plenaries focused on re-imagining care and support in both care and housing settings with 20-minute offerings each from Care England’s Chief Exec Martin Green, Taff Housing Association Chief Exec Helen White and Home Instead’s Chief Exec Martin Jones.
Parallel to this were numerous Breakout Sessions at the Innovation Zone and in the upper galleries – too many to mention individually but over the course of the two days themes covered included VR, robotics, digital shift analysis and guidance, dementia, a focus on Wales, standards, housing, connectivity to combat loneliness, TEC to transform care homes, data enablement for a citizen controlled data environment, improving emergency services collaboration, marketing…..the list goes on….
A big highlight was the Citizen Experience Zone which hosted two buses providing the opportunity to walk in the shoes of someone coping with dementia and autism – inside the bus participants had to navigate their way around the vehicle whilst coping with sensory overload – users commented how it made them feel disoriented or with vertigo – we hope that people will go back to their organisations with this insight and re-evaluate or adapt their services for those with these struggles.
For those delegates and exhibitors staying for the Gala Dinner and Awards, it was a fantastic night of celebrating all the hard work and successes of 2019. There was a great atmosphere in the room and the Dinner always proves a wonderful opportunity for the TEC sector to interact and form bonds in a more informal setting – there were many old friendships rekindled and many new ones made. Following a three-course dinner and the high of giving out the QSF and ITEC Awards, it was live music and dancing ‘til the wee hours of the morning.
In spite of a few bleary eyes from the previous night’s celebrations, there was a good turnout in the main auditorium for a live cobot (collaborative robot) demonstration. Hampshire County Council in collaboration with PA Consulting demonstrated the use of an exoskeleton which works off a rechargeable battery, “it’s important to know that I control it, it’s not controlling me, we work together,” said Lesley Grant who demoed the device that sits around the hips and waist. She described how she has witnessed a range of responses such as “curiosity” but mainly care workers and occupational therapists were “really open to new technology to support them” and tended to be early adopters of anything that would help support them in their jobs.
Before lunch, we tackled issues around the Digital Shift with an interactive debate focusing on the reasons for the upgrade to digital, how it can be achieved and associated risks. The expert panel was just that – experts from Microsoft, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, Openreach and TSA’s own Technology Strategist Steve Sadler.
Again, there were parallel sessions that really focused in on the Digital Shift and digital ecosystems, TEC to support independence, integrated care at NHS Digital and more robotics in care demonstrations.
The conference was expertly summed up by TSA’s CEO and President, Alyson Scurfield and Paul Burstow respectively, as they emphasised calls to action around the sector priorities of creating Partnerships, Data sharing with transparency and Workforce development in TEC as the key ingredients needed for the creation of a more efficient health&care system with better outcomes for people, “only this will create true population health management for living well,” said Alyson.
In line with the Leadership Report priorities, the day concluded with a much-needed focus on workforce development with TSA’s Dawn Thornber, emphasising the importance of planning for the future to increase confidence in the workplace and “so your workforce doesn’t get left behind” in TEC. Jill Thompson, Strategic Lead Manchester City Council displayed her council’s progressive approach in involving her workforce in decision making across departments and the adoption of QSF standards. Rupert Lawrence, Head of Amica24 described the evolution of his organisation with the adoption of the Eden Alternative to empower colleagues. He said: “By embedding a care-focused, person-centred, customer satisfaction culture” underpinned by rigorous adherence to the QSF standards and “embedding competencies and continuous improvement” he believes he’s created a happier workforce with better, more meaningful connections with the end-users of Amica24’s services.
Here at TSA, we’re very much looking towards ITECConf2020 as an opportunity to grow the technology enabled care community and strengthen the coalition towards a truly embedded TEC reality – before then let’s see what we can achieve this year as an organisation and as a sector. Together. Stronger.
The TSA Team.