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TEC-Tonic Shift on the horizon for social care?

19 September 2016

NCF Blog by Vic Rayner


I love a few good stats. They do make a point strike home in a way that makes you sit up and take note. My favourite stat of last week was that within 3 years’ time – each one of us will produce enough personal data to fill a floppy disc (remember those?) every second. Let me just repeat that – Every Second.

I was very pleased to have been invited to address an event on Friday in Brighton, organised by Digital Catapult and IoT UK bringing together SME tech innovators and developers with social care providers. The focus of the event was to identify the key challenges facing the sector – and to explore how tech could offer solutions. Whilst the challenges were more than familiar, as the discussion emerged it became clear to me that there was much more to play for in this partnership than the digitizing of roster systems – as important as those solutions were.

During the day, I listened intently to a presentation highlighting the potential for Technology Enabled Care (TEC), and was told that the future of health will be dominated by Big Data – and thought to myself – social care needs a bit of this (or indeed a lot of this). I profess that I have a lot to learn about how the information that can now be captured and analysed on an individual’s health and wellbeing can be brought together to provide evidence – but I do know that we need evidence.

We need it now more than ever. As we move into an era where the integration of health and social care is a stated ambition, big data could be the key to demonstrating the impact of social care on the health and well being of some of the frailest members of our community. The unique opportunity within residential settings to gather and utilise substantive data over a sustained period presents a powerful proposition for social care to provide a meaningful contribution to the global understanding of long term health conditions and social care’s role in their management.  In this vein, I was very interested to read Paul Burstow’s article in The Guardian, highlighting the potential of Technology Enabled Care (TEC). 

I am really keen to explore this issue further, and if you have a key interest in getting Big Data onto the social care agenda – whether you are in tech, health, social care or research – then contact me at vic.rayner@nationalcareforum.org.uk and let’s see if we can start to a few TEC tremors through the social care sector.

Executive Director



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