The potential of technology in adult social care

University of Sheffield. CIRCLE
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This briefing explores the potential for technology to address issues of sustainability, wellbeing and care quality. It highlights four urgent issues for practitioners and policymakers: the digital switchover, and specifically low awareness of available technologies and, as analogue services are switched off, the inadequacy of broadband and networks; leaving the EU, and the uncertainty around the UK’s future involvement in EU-funded R&D projects and its role in care technology standards frameworks and wider regulatory arrangements; mainstream consumer electronics products, which are starting to displace more expensive specialist equipment used in social care; and Covid-19. The brief also sets out key messages and opportunities: 1) the digital switchover requires action from policymakers and commissioners – it is an opportunity to shift from traditional telecare to flexible, networked, multi-functional Internet of Things (IoT) devices that could generate big data for preventative care; 2) local authorities need access to expert guidance on the technologies becoming available – adult social care services may need a dedicated technology-focused role; councils will need expertise in how these technologies work and how to select from the many specialist and consumer devices entering the market; the opportunities are exciting, but councils reliant on third-party providers could be exposed to risks; 3) standards and frameworks need re-design to accommodate the new digital TEC products and mainstream devices in social care; 4) outcomes-based commissioning can help providers assess how well technologies support their strategic priorities. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
adult social care, information technology, digital technology, telecare, internet;
United Kingdom
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