A project to improve care by empowering social care professionals to digitally connect with the NHS and accelerate the flow of vital information between health organisations and care homes in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Havering and Sutton has won a prestigious award.
The collaborative project between Healthy London Partnership, Accenture and NHS Digital received an award in the ‘User-led Innovation and Experience’ category at the Health Tech Awards ceremony held on 3 October for their work with the social care sector – empowering a digitally connected workforce
Working closely with a range of social care providers, the team learned what really mattered to them, and what it was they wanted to be able to do to deliver the best care. It was an opportunity for the social care workforce to have their voice heard by their health sector colleagues in a way they had not previously had chance to do.
Through understanding what care providers wanted, a valuable sector led set of support materials were developed, as well as a marketing campaign using the voice of the sector to showcase the benefits of digital tools, including NHSmail. This all aims to improve and speed up communication where it is important for care providers – for example, between a GP and a care home – without as much reliance on old fashioned equipment such as faxes.
NHSmail is a free, secure and efficient email service enabling easier sharing of data between health and social care organisations, leading to greater integration between the two – something that care homes had identified was missing.
In London, the NHSmail system supplier Accenture worked with the Healthy London Partnership to support staff in the care sector to access NHSmail through guidance and face to face support. Insight from this was used to develop the approach and materials that are now available nationwide.
The team’s work has contributed to the number of care providers using NHSmail to surge from 97 providers to over 1,300 since the start of the year.
Jane Sproat, Senior Improvement Manager, Enhanced Health in Care Homes (EHCH) at Healthy London Partnership said, “It is fantastic to see this initiative being recognised by the Health Tech Awards. Improving communication across health and social care can make such a big difference to the experience of Londoners who require additional health or care support.
“Our EHCH programme supports care providers to be an empowered partner in the improvements that we need to make across London to increase the ability of the NHS to provide care closer to homes. “The roll out of NHSmail is just the start– we are already seeing a huge commitment across London to take part in this work as we accelerate the support across further areas in London.”
Neil Bennett, Director of Services (ai) for NHS Digital said, “I am delighted that this project has been recognised with such a prestigious award. It has been great to see so many care organisations taking advantage of the benefits that NHSmail offers over the last year and I am really pleased that so many frontline care staff got involved to help.
“When you have those conversations to find out what people need, you will always end up with people who are engaged, enthusiastic about the end result and more knowledgeable about how to make it work for them, which ultimately improves the services we provide.
“This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of all those involved, and to the care home professionals who worked with us to make it a success.”
Niamh McKenna, UK health lead at Accenture said, “This collaboration set out to work directly with social care professionals – empowering a digitally connected social care workforce in a way that really mattered to them. Not just giving them the technology that we thought was best. We’re really proud that this approach has achieved fantastic results and is now being adopted effectively around the country.”
The Health Tech Awards celebrate and showcase exceptional projects, teams, partnerships, technology and organisations across health and care that are making a real difference.