The impact on patients can be severe, with the likelihood of readmission and long-term care needs increasing. Reducing delayed discharges through integration would also alleviate pressure on health and social care services and save money.
Applications are now open for local authorities with adult social care responsibilities to become early adopters and integrate their systems with at least one of their NHS partners, to create digital assessment, discharge and withdrawal (ADW) notices.
The current, non-digital systems in place to handle ADWs have been identified by local authorities and their NHS partners as one of the stumbling blocks to transfer of care, and local authorities therefore run the risk of being non-compliant with the Care Act 2014.
This has led NHS Digital, in conjunction with NHS England, to offer funding to partnerships that have the potential to speed up the process.
Tom Denwood, Director of Data and Integration at NHS Digital said: “When the transfer from hospital to social care is delayed, this causes distress for patients, their carers and healthcare staff.
“Local authorities and their NHS partners have a huge challenge ahead of them, especially during the winter months when the demand on public health services increases.
“We know that technology can help speed up the discharge process by integrating the health and social care IT systems, a process that will ultimately support patients back into their own home and regaining their independence. We are here to support both the social care sector and the wider NHS to make this happen.”
Ben Moody, Head of Health and Social Care at techUK said: “This offers a good opportunity for our members, both to those who are delivering solutions to individual organisations or delivering integrated records, to improve citizen care.”