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Reviews on digital technology innovation and digital capabilities in adult social care

IPC, Ipsos MORI and Skills for Care conducting reviews on digital technology and workforce capabilities for NHSX

NHSX, a joint unit of NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, driving the digital transformation of care, have commissioned the Institute of Public Care and Ipsos MORI to conduct two related reviews: the first one focuses on the adoption and scalability of technology innovation in the adult social care sector. The second one, which is conducted jointly with Skills for Care, looks at the digital capabilities of the adult social care workforce.

This important project will help determine national policy priorities over the coming years and guide the sector on where to focus its efforts in relation to digital technology and skills in adult social care.

While there are examples of innovation enhancing care outcomes, evidence remains largely anecdotal through the experiences of care providers, local authorities, technology suppliers and people with care and support needs around new technologies. To date there has been little research to identify the specific barriers to innovation, issues around supply and demand, and what the right conditions are for the adoption and spread of digital technology amongst care providers.

There is a significant evidence gap around the digital capability of the social care workforce, including current levels of digital skills, understanding of future need, and current provision and outcomes of training available.

This research aims to cover these evidence gaps and provide a stronger, more comprehensive body of evidence to help NHSX plan their future strategy.

Key stakeholders were involved in developing the scope of the reviews and the reviews benefit from the input of an Expert Reference Group which includes stakeholders from across the sector.

As part of the scoping exercise IPC undertook a rapid evidence review, to identify both progress and barriers to digital technology adoption and scalability across the adult social care sector to summarise existing knowledge and to help scope other aspects of the reviews. The key themes covered are:

  • Current use and effectiveness of digital technology in the sector.
  • Potential for digital technology in the sector.
  • Barriers to adopting digital technology by care providers.
  • Barriers to providing digital technology to the sector faced by technology suppliers.

This rapid evidence review is shared here to support learning across the sector.

Fieldwork for the two reviews will be taking place between April and June 2021. It will include online surveys, telephone surveys, qualitative interviews, discussion groups and case studies with a range of audiences across England: care providers, technology suppliers, local authorities, care workers and personal assistants, people with care and support needs, and carers. Information for stakeholders taking part in the fieldwork can be found here.

If you want to know more about the reviews, have a query about them or would like to contribute, please contact

Jonathan Gardam,
Fiona Richardson, Director

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