Theme 6: Embracing emerging digital opportunities – whether through the use of technology, systems, data or analytics – presents a compelling opportunity for services to improve outcomes for people at a sustainable cost. This requires an environment which promotes digital innovation, alongside a clear understanding of the desired impact of any investment on the end user (whether staff or person).

Digital advancements promise an exciting future for adult social care, and the public and private sectors more widely. There is a huge range of possible applications: notably to make service delivery more efficient and to fundamentally shift the emphasis of adult social care towards prevention by identifying emerging need before an individual reaches a point of crisis. 

In order to truly leverage the power of digital, optimised social care services concentrate on creating a new environment which fosters digital innovation. This requires the right infrastructure, structures, and culture along with a relentless focus on the desired outcome for the end user.

Key findings:

  1. Creating an environment that fosters digital innovation
  • ~Authorities that create an environment in which the benefits of digital innovation are realised do so through strong leadership and a clear vision.
  • ~Optimised services recognise that they have a wealth of data already, and the challenge is in bringing it together to drive value.
  • ~Data and information is democratised, putting the data in the hands of users wherever they are in the organisation to allow people to use this directly for their own purposes.
  • ~Optimised adult social care services are moving away from expensive proprietary technology and to open source systems and software, which can be shared widely and modified locally.
  1. Digital solutions are designed with a clear outcome in mind
  • ~Optimised adult social care services consider digital solutions a means to an end, not an end in themselves.
  • ~The user experience is recognised as the most important factor in a successful solution, rather than the underlying capability of the technology.
  • ~Optimised systems find solutions small and simply, with a ‘minimum viable product’ which can be quickly put into the hands of the user, before being grown through a ‘test and learn’ process.
  • ~Services consider the impact of digital inequality, both in terms of their own workforce and the individuals they serve.
  • ~In optimised delivery models, technology enhances, enables, and influences professional decision-making with digital solutions, not to replace professional judgement and skillsets of professionals, but to create an optimised and holistic solution.