A blog entry by Dr James Wright
The conference featured a broad range of plenary talks and breakout sessions from experts and industry professionals from across the UK and Europe, as well as an exhibition space for product demonstrations by technology-enabled care developers.
Highlights of the first day included speeches from Alyson Scurfield, Chief Executive of the TSA, the Right Honourable Paul Burstow, President of the TSA, and presentations by Dr Rafael Bengoa, formerly Health Minister in the Basque Government (Spain), Jeremy Hughs CBE, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society, and David Pearson CBE, Chair of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System. The RH Paul Burstow introduced the theme of the conference: citizen-powered communities, and set out some of the context of and opportunities presented by technology in care. Dr Bengoa talked about the need for a new, integrated care structure reaching beyond the current fragmented silos found across much of Europe. A panel debate on “Quality and Improvement Driving the Transformation of Care” included Madeleine Starr MBE, of Carers UK – who is also the Sustainable Care programme’s Director of Impact. Madeleine gave an impassioned talk about the need to improve the quality of life of individuals, and how this could be achieved by building a new quality standards framework.
Speakers on the second day included Julie Ogley, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), who provided an overview of ADASS and its work in relation to technology in care. Dr Jane Townson, Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, talked about the situation of domiciliary care in the UK, and offered evidence-based ideas for how lifestyle changes can help everyone flourish at the age of 100, assisted by smart technologies. Prof Martin Green, CEO of Care England (and a member of the Sustainable Care programme’s Advisory Board), urged delegates not to wait for big policy announcements on social care from central government, but instead to look at what can be achieved through new technologies, while focusing on improving the experience of the user. Jeremy Hughes, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society, talked about how technology could be harnessed to support people with dementia, highlighting the development of the “How Do I?” app that helps users remember how to do everyday things, such as making a cup of tea. Mark Allen, Head of Commissioning at Hampshire County Council, and Steve Carefull, director at PA Consulting, talked about their experience of trialling “cobots” (biomechanical robotic exoskeletons) in Hampshire.
Highlights from the exhibition space included representatives from Zora Bots demonstrating their latest robots, and a variety of new start-ups such as Memo and Oysta challenging more established telecare providers.
The RH Paul Burstow and Alyson Scurfield closed the conference by setting out the TSA’s ambitions for 2020, which include a strong focus on the ‘four pillars’ of technology-enabled care (workforce development, advisory services, data initiatives, and marketing activity), the TSA quality and improvement development programme 2020-22 and its new 2021-25 business strategy.
All three of us attending the conference from CIRCLE and the Sustainable Care programme greatly benefited from participating in the conference. We came away with many new insights to think about, and are already looking forward to next year’s ITEC conference. Many and sincere thanks to Alyson Scurfield and the TSA for their generous and ongoing support for the Sustainable Care programme, which made our attendance possible. We look forward to continuing to work with the TSA in the coming year.