6 practical lessons for implementing technology in domiciliary care

The social care sector could benefit from the use of digital innovations to enhance the delivery of care, but there are considerable barriers which block widespread adoption. This report sets out six key lessons for policy makers and commissioners for successful implementation of digital technologies in domiciliary care.

This reports sits alongside another research report in a two-part series on technology implementation in domiciliary care, drawing on findings from the Care City project.

Relative to the NHS, social care is often on the back foot when it comes to adopting innovative solutions, partly due to decades of structural underfunding and a fragile and complex provider market. The government's recent announcement of a health and social care levy made no dedicated additional investments for expanding the use of digital technologies in social care, or into improving existing social care quality.

Huge financial pressures, a lack of robust, centralised data, and significant staff shortages were amplifed by the Covid-19 pandemic, making a national coordinated response to the virus challenging1. However, when lockdowns were imposed in the UK, the pandemic highlighted the value of implementing remote monitoring technologies, and the rapid roll-out of these innovations during this period has been particularly notable in care homes. There are examples of tablets being piloted in care homes to help residents keep in touch with families, as well as the use of tablets for monitoring residents’ health2. But roll-out of similar technologies is limited in domiciliary care settings.

This summary, based on findings from the evaluation of the Care City site as part of the national test bed programme funding by NHS England, focuses on how digital technologies have been implemented in domiciliary care settings. The findings provide an important contribution to the exisiting evidence base - particularly in light of the growth in use of remote monitoring in social care settings since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Here, we set out six key lessons for policy makers and commissioners to inform future projects in this area, raise potential barriers and navigate towards successful implementation of digital innovations in domiciliary care: 

Key lessons

  1. Ensure all partners across the health and care system are engaged, not just those involved in direct care delivery
  2. Consider the delivery challenges unique to domiciliary care when transferring technologies from other care settings
  3. Recognise that variation exists across domiciliary care agencies and adapt implementation plans accordingly
  4. Consider how appropriate the innovation is to different cohorts of service users
  5. Consider the resources needed to implement and sustain implementation when designing the care pathway
  6. Collect good quality individual-level data to best demonstrate the impact of the innovations

Suggested citation

Rolewicz L, Oung C, Crellin N, Kumpunen S (2021) 6 practical lessons for implementing technology in domiciliary care Research report, Nuffield Trust

Appears in

Care City 29/10/2018

Project

The Nuffield Trust was commissioned to evaluate Care City, a test bed in East London focused on using new technologies to support people wit...

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