Digital healthcare company Digital Life Sciences welcomes a recent report by Nesta Impact Investments that identifies the role entrepreneurs and technology can play in improving care.
The report by the fund that invests in innovation for social change outlines ways in which social entrepreneurs can play a key role in meeting the challenges of our ageing society.
Published in May 2014, Who Cares? identifies four needs and market opportunities to improve older people’s lives:
- communication tools that increase meaningful connections between family and friends, increasing social interaction and reducing isolation
- platforms or marketplaces that engage potential informal carers from the community
- care management tools that build networks of support and enable effective management and co-ordination of care
- tools that improve integration between individuals, informal care providers and formal care providers to improve quality and continuity of care
Joe Ludlow, director of Nesta Impact Investments, said: “Now is the time for impact investors to engage with this serious social need which is also a significant economic opportunity.”
Digital Life Sciences is already transforming services in each of the identified areas through disruptive innovation. Using user-centred design techniques, it has created:
- Good Neighbours, a platform that connects older people with the family, friends and neighbours, creating meaningful circles of support and managing a small network of trusted people to do day-to-day tasks
- A Better Plan, a care management tool, through which people with long-term conditions can create care plans with their healthcare professionals, sharing their data with formal and informal carers to enable management and co-ordination of care
- No Delays, an online channel that health and care professionals can use to prescribe personalised content and services to individual service users, who can then share that with carers, family and friends
- Following a successful bid to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to extend access to primary care services, DLS is now working with GPs in the Vitality Partnership to integrate these products into a service that can deliver truly integrated care. Digital Vitality will be a new kind of provider giving users tools such as Skype, instant messaging, email and electronic medical records to connect social, community and healthcare professionals with patients and carers.
Andrew Chitty, Executive Director of Digital Life Sciences, said: “The thinking behind Who Cares? is spot on. Nesta’s analysis of the market and where emerging innovations can help redesign our care system is very clearly drawn and definitely matches what we’re encountering on the ground.
“It’s very important that we don’t become too focused on the technological aspects of innovation. Digital tools, however smart, won’t on their own bring about social change. At Digital Life Sciences, we redesign services and embed the tools we have created within them. It’s only by attending to the service design and transformation as well as the tech, that innovation is truly effective.
“Our only challenge to Nesta is to extend this analysis to the integration of health and social care. At Digital Life Sciences we are engaging healthcare providers and commissioners in disruptive innovation hand in hand with engaging those involved in social care.
“We would emphasise the importance of using digital technology to make it possible for healthcare services to be provided in the community as part of an integrated package of formal and informal, health and social care bringing together innovative SMEs, social enterprises and statutory providers.”