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Harnessing innovation to improve healthy ageing: What’s next for Care City?

26 April 2018 | Dr Jenny Shand

UCLPartners is dedicated to supporting improvements in population health. Many of our programmes work closely with health partners, but increasingly we are collaborating with councils too. One example is our ongoing support to Care City, an innovation centre for healthy ageing, based in Barking, East London. It was co-founded by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) and North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT). Care City aims to deliver both measurable improvements in healthy ageing for the local population and to act as a catalyst for regenerating one of London’s most deprived communities.

Leading up to the launch in 2016, UCLPartners provided dedicated support to Care City, reshaping the organisations strategy and securing grants to shape the initial programme of work. This included securing designation as an NHS England Test Bed for Innovation. Two and a half years later, Care City continues to flourish, supporting the testing and implementation of new innovations into practice across the health and social care system, and continuing to deliver a broad portfolio of work across the community, innovation, research and education.

NHS England have launched a further test bed call, with deadlines for applications in June 2018.  As an existing Test Bed, Care City understands the programme and the imperative to save significant costs and improve outcomes and experiences at scale. They have demonstrated the ability to share data, deliver tests on thousands of people and secure the spread of successful work.

For example:

  • Work with HealthUnlocked significantly cut the time and costs associated with social prescribing, and is being adopted across Barking & Dagenham.
  • Work with Alivecor’s Kardia Mobile cut the time to treatment for atrial fibrillation from 12 to 2-3 weeks and developed a highly cost-effective model for preventing strokes. Transforming the AF pathway is the top priority for 2018-19 for BHR Provider Alliance, the one-stop AF clinic is spreading to a second site at Barts Health and they are supporting Coastal West Sussex CCG to adopt the AF pathway.

The Wave 2 programme aims to improve outcomes and experiences for older adults with multiple long-term conditions, while reducing costs, across the 2 million population of East London.

They propose to innovate to improve how the system identify, treat and manage long-term conditions. They’ll do this by finding new diagnostics, using digital prescribing of social support and digital medicine and using new tools to monitor and empower people with long-term conditions.

There are three ways the Wave 2 Test Bed proposal builds on the existing work:

  1. Expanded geography – the forward work will be coterminous with the geography of the East London Health and Care Partnership, covering 2 million population and seven boroughs.
  2. Connected data – underpinning successful testing is access to timely connected data. The ambitions and expansion of connected data across ELHCP is critically to the ongoing success of the work.
  3. Workforce – the significance of workforce remodelling has been underplayed in the discourse about health and care innovation to date. Workforce can often be the barrier to spread, and when roles are remodelled, the spread of these changes can take innovations with them. In the process — through detailed, investable models — the spread of workforce development and of innovation can become mutually reinforcing. As such the forward programme will have a specific focus and support to front line care workers.

UCLPartners is supporting the development of the application, co-designing innovation assessment criteria, ensuring the voice of patients and the public are at the heart of the ambition, and working with sites in other geographies to create appetite from the beginning for adoption and spread. For UCLPartners, the methodology and system connections underpin the approach to creating innovation exchanges, and Care City continues to provide us with learning internally for how to best support the system, and externally for how to support scale and spread of successful innovations.