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The growing pressures faced by adult social care in England has fuelled interest in technology-enabled care (TEC) to not only help the system operate more efficiently, but also improve the quality of care and support independent living in people’s own homes for longer. 

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Home sensors in social care is a key area in need of improved evidence to inform decisions about implementation and spread beyond current pilot projects, and the development of organisational capacity, knowledge and skills required to deliver and sustain this. There has been a proliferation of digital devices (and new providers) for in-home monitoring that offer potential to support proactive and preventative care, including assessments/reviews of a person’s social care needs, real-time reassurance for carers, and changes in activity patterns to inform early intervention and support. While such technology has been widely deployed through small scale feasibility pilots, it is currently seldom used as part of business-as-usual within social care. This lack of sustained adoption at scale can be attributed to various system-wide complexities that need to be better understood and addressed if such approaches to remote monitoring are to become mainstream practice. 

The aim of the proposed evaluation is to define good practice in the implementation and use of technology-enabled in-home monitoring ‘beyond the pilot’, and draw transferable lessons that can inform spread and scale up across social care. 

How are we helping?

The DECIDE centre will conduct a rapid evaluation to inform the strategic ambitions for digital transformation across social care. We will work with the organisational case sites to gain a deeper understanding of technology-enabled in-home monitoring within social care ecosystems, and generate transferable lessons on the resources, systems, people and structures needed to achieve sustained adoption at scale. Insights from this work will be used to inform national policy in partnership with Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England’s Digitising Social Care team 

The evaluation will take a mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approach in three main phases: 

Phase 1 (pre-assessment and groundwork) 

This phase will focus on project setup, and establishing the goals/ data/ methods for the data collection and evaluation work.  

Phase 2 (formative evaluation) 

This phase will include qualitative and quantitative data collection at each site, including:  

  • Interviews with staff and system stakeholders to explore the (inter)organisational resources, processes and challenges to implementation. 

  • Interviews with service users to explore the lived experience and impact of such technology, in people’s everyday lives 

  • Economic analysis on the costs associated with setting up and running the service, health and social care outcomes. 

Phase 3 (summative analysis) 

This phase will involve data synthesis to draw transferable lessons. This will be supported by cross-site workshop (with participating case site teams) and an inter-stakeholder workshops (with case site teams and wider national stakeholders.