Author: John Craig, Chief Executive, Care City
We are proud and delighted to be launching a new Test Bed programme at Care City, on behalf of NHS England and the Office for Life Sciences and together with our consortium partners. The Test Bed will seek to transform outcomes, experiences and efficiency for people with long-term conditions. In addition, it will seek to enhance the work and productivity of key groups of staff.
The biggest impression on me from my time at Care City so far was made by pharmacy counter assistants. Through our first Test Bed programme, we enabled these counter assistants to screen people for atrial fibrillation, using Alivecor's Kardia Mobile.
To learn this role, counter assistants had to be able to see their place within a wider, potentially life-saving team. Once they saw that the quality of their screening made a difference to their customers' experience in hospital, and to the clinicians working with them, they could understand what we were asking them to do, and did a great job.
This shift of perspective is huge – from having a job in a shop to a career in health and care.It is innovation that makes this possible, and we think it has profound potential to:
- improve patient outcomes and experiences, while reducing costs
- enhance staff roles
- tackle the workforce shortages in health and care
- make health and care an engine of growth
Too often in our health and care system, conversations about the latest digital gadget and conversations about 'human resources' take place wholly separately, so that this potential is missed. Equally, too often people in junior health and care roles are the very last to be given access to new technology, even when this would yield the most significant gains.
Our aim for this Test Bed is to use innovation to enhance the work and productivity of junior health and care roles. To this end, we will test the eight innovations of our partners through three enhanced roles, each focused on improving support for people with long-term conditions:
- Expert carers – enabling domiciliary care staff to use digital tools to work in partnership health system to support people
- Digital prescribers – enabling healthcare assistants to support people to access digital medicine
- Administrator patient supporters – enabling hospital administrators to better support and motivate patients
These three staff groups – domiciliary carers, healthcare assistants and hospital administrators – represent around one million people across our health and care system. Enhancing their productivity is urgent for them and their careers, for patients and for the system as a whole. For Care City, it is a perfect focus, combining our twin aims of enabling healthy aging and helping to regenerate East London.