In May 2018 NHS Digital in partnership with the Local Government Association launched the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme (SCDIP). Local Authorities from across the country bid for £20,000 to take part in a discovery phase and Stockport was selected as one of 12 local authorities.
I was brought into this project to, along with a business analyst, design and run the discovery phase along with key stakeholders from Adult Social Care. The problems we wanted to explore and eventually address were:
• The increasing pressure on social care services by identifying a quick, easy and effective technological solution to keep people safe and independent at home, avoiding the need for hospital admission or more complex social care
• A need to increase the impact of the existing ‘Technology Enabled Care’ (TEC) service and embedding TEC as the first line response to social care needs
During this discovery phase, insights from quantitative measures (eg. data around false alarms, wait times) and insights from qualitative methods (eg. shadowing professionals, contextual interviews with telecare users) came together to form a strong foundation for ideation and a more defined problem space.
The methods and approach of to the discovery phase was hailed by the LGA as one of two of “the most robust, user-led discovery phases”. Following this discovery phase, Stockport (along with 8 other councils) was awarded a further £67,000 to:
• Develop and implement a new ‘fast-track’ process
• Trial/introduce newer, more accurate kit
• Develop a tiered pathway for Technology Enabled Care considering every person’s physical, cognitive, social and technological requirements to provide personalised digital solutions that will work well for them.
Unfortunately, there were many technical blockers that prevented the trial of the new kit. However, the new fast-track process was tested for 6 weeks and the results were largely positive, leading to a more permanent implementation – my main contribution to this phase were supporting stakeholders to design the detail of the process and designing the evaluation framework and surveys to get feedback from a staff/user perspective.
“It’s true to say that we didn’t know what to expect from the discovery process and although it has been challenging at times, it has proved a highly valuable experience. Now we’ve learned this way of approaching a project, we believe that user-centred design is an extremely important asset for the Council and we will try to build in this way of working going forward.” (Reflection from an Adult Social Care stakeholder and member of the team)