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Support new providers using digital technology for older people

We will support new providers seeking to use digital technology to monitor long-term conditions better, deploy carers to patients or support better domiciliary care away from hospitals.

Our Verdict

Digital technology has changed life in significant ways in recent decades, requiring citizens to develop new essential skills, and making many of us reliant on digital devices for day-to-day living. This policy promises government support to those seeking to extend the use of digital technology in the provision of health care for an increasingly ageing population.

The Industrial Strategy published in November 2017 contained a set of Grand Challenges, one of which is to “harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society”. That objective has been backed up by some significant government investment.

A policy paper published in October 2018 outlined three pillars for a future health service which are significant for this policy:

  • support innovators to develop safe and effective innovations that meet user needs
  • promote the testing and iteration of these innovations
  • ensure the best innovations are used

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, contains many initiatives aimed at meeting this policy goal. Alongside plans to use digital technology to support elderly outpatients, there is an entire chapter entitled “Digitally-enabled care will go mainstream across the NHS” which includes strategies for creating “the right environment and infrastructure for innovation to thrive“.

Many of these initiatives are still at the planning stage, and the December 2018 policy paper acknowledged that “the state of online services, basic IT and clinical tools in health and care is far behind where it needs to be.” So for now this is ‘in progress’. We’ll keep tracking improvements in the use of digital technology in health care for the elderly, so follow this policy to stay updated.

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