The NHS test bed programme brings together NHS organisations and industry partners to test combinations of digital technologies and pathway redesign in real world settings. As part of the programme, NHS England is investing over £2 million to support interventions aimed at improving the management of diabetes, which will be used to fund three test beds. The Department of Health and Social Care together with the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) is investing £5 million in other priority areas – which will support four test beds.
The Nuffield Trust has been commissioned to evaluate Care City – a test bed in East London with a particular focus on using new technologies to support people with long-term conditions. The test bed is made up of three clusters:
- Expert carers – domiciliary carers using digital diagnostics and data to spot deterioration and to better manage medication.
- Digital prescribers in primary care – GPs, with support of health care assistants, prescribing digital applications, and supporting people to benefit from them, to prevent deterioration of long-term conditions.
- Administrator patient supporters in acute care – administrators using digital pathway tools to support patients to change their lives.
The evaluation will run over 18 months and will draw on quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate impacts on patients, the workforce and the health care system. We will also evaluate how the innovations are implemented, drawing out lessons for successfully spreading effective innovations at scale.