Connecting People, Improving Lives– A Digital Future for Technology Enabled Care

International Technology Enabled Care Conference 2018

16th – 17th Oct 2018, The ICC, Birmingham

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A blog entry by Dr Kate Hamblin, Matthew Lariviere and Dr Sarah Kate Smith

On 16th and 17 October 2018, Professor Sue Yeandle, Madeleine Starr MBE, Dr Sarah Kate Smith, Dr Kate Hamblin and Matthew Lariviere attended the TEC Services Association (TSA) International Technology-Enabled Care conference at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre. The conference featured a range of plenary talks from experts on technology and care from the UK and internationally, breakout sessions and an exhibition hall for technology-enabled care developers to demonstrate their products to delegates.

Day 1 began with the opening plenaries on the theme of ‘Connecting people, improving lives’. The Right Honourable Paul Burstow, President of the TSA, and Alyson Scurfield, Chief Executive of the TSA, welcomed delegates and launched the event and chaired the plenaries for the first day. Paul Burstow addressed the challenges of delivering wellbeing outcomes in a period of austerity, highlighting the recent CQC State of Care report which has stated that for many areas of the UK, the social care system has reached its tipping point. At the same time, he cautioned against the gloomy portrayal of an ageing population as a burden which overlooks the huge societal achievement that increased life expectancy represents, and the contributions older adults make to society as volunteers, carers and consumers. The morning plenaries also included Kay Smith, a patient ambassador and retired tissue viability nurse, whose moving presentation ‘When the drugs don’t work’ recounted her experiences with her terminal illness and adopting virtual reality to manage her pain, even during invasive procedures.

The afternoon’s plenaries, focused on ‘Exploiting information to improve health and wellness’ were launched by Professor George Cooke OBE from the Digital Health and Care Institute, asking ‘What happened to the “person” in person-centred care?’ and examined whether and how people were included in choices about their own technological preferences and care arrangements.

In the afternoon, each member of the Sustainable Care team attended separate ‘breakout sessions’ covering the following topics: care commissioning in the digital world, workforce development for technology-enabled care, and how to bring telehealth and telecare technologies into mainstream practice.

The second day shifted the focus to bring in international expertise and experience. We heard from Ester Sarquella, Directive Board Member of the Catalan Society for Digital Health and Director of Digital Health for Tunstall Healthcare Southern Europe, who provided insight into the Spanish system in her presentation ‘Beyond Barcelona: Spain’s proactive, personalised and predictive approach to technology-enabled health and care’. She provided details about historical and contemporary processes to implement telecare and other technology-enabled care services in Spain. We also heard from Paul Jansen, the Chief Operating Officer of Buurtzorg who outlined‘The Buurtzorg Model’ of person-centred care delivered by self-managing, local care teams, developed in the Netherlands, and now being rolled out in the UK and Ireland. Steve Carefull, Director of PA Consulting, delivered the final morning plenary which brought the focus back to the UK. His presentation, ‘Alexa; can you support people with care needs?’, discussed the findings of a report launched at the conference regarding the challenges and opportunities mainstream technology such as Amazon’s Alexa presented for technology-enabled care.

For the final plenary talks, members from local and central government outlined their aspirations for the future of technology-enabled care. Ed Moses, Director for Care and Transformation at the Department of Health and Social Care, provided his reflections and hopes for technology-enabled care to support the health and care services, including their respective workforces, across the UK, followed by Glen Garrod, President of the Association for Directors of Adult Social Services, who provided a hopeful vision for technology-enabled care in his talk, ‘Digital technology: the next best thing since the enlightenment’. He highlighted the capacity for digital technology to change the care landscape, however, regulation and slow implementation affects its potential. Rt Hon Paul Burstow closed the plenary session with a reminder that people, not technology, remains the focal point for care despite innovative technological intervention in the market and on the horizon.

The second day ended with additional breakout sessions which picked up on similar themes presented earlier in conference plenaries. Sustainable Care team members attended sessions about the quality and safety of new innovations in technology-enabled care, design thinking, and risk management when providers undergo digital transformation of their services.

The Sustainable Care research programme includes two work packages focusing on different aspects of technology in care, click the images below to find out more

Achieving Sustainability in Care Systems

The potential of technology

Technologies to Support Working Carers

Connecting people and systems

All members of the Sustainable Care team greatly benefited from attending the conference. We gained new insights into the context of technology-enabled care in the UK and in European nations as well as connections with prominent figures and organisations in the sector to carry over into our research. We would like to close by graciously acknowledging and thanking Alyson Scurfield and the TSA for their generous support which made our attendance at the conference possible.

Kate Hamblin

Dr Kate Hamblin

Senior Researcher

Matthew Lariviere

Matthew Lariviere

UKRI Innovation Fellow

Dr Sarah K Smith profile picture

Dr Sarah Kate Smith

Research Associate

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TSA are partners of the Sustainable Care research programme, to see more of our partners, follow the link below

Sustainable Care Partners