Alyson Scurfield raised some very interesting points in her recent opinion piece about the need for a more strategic approach to procuring telecare.
Here in Scotland, a number of the key points highlighted by Alyson have already been implemented and the benefits that Alyson forecast are being realised.
Scotland Excel established and manages the national framework for the provision of telecare and telehealth technologies for public sector organisations across Scotland.
Our framework, which is used by all 32 local authorities across Scotland, has already delivered tangible benefits from the successful collaboration between local authorities, housing associations and health and social care partnerships. The framework has helped bring much needed competition into the market, helped leverage increased product interoperability, encouraged product investment and innovation, as well as deliver competitive pricing for commissioners. Alongside these welcome benefits for purchasers, the framework provides an effective and efficient supply arrangement for suppliers. In addition to this, suppliers awarded onto the framework also engage in local community activities that benefit the local community area.
Scotland Excel provides national oversight and contract management ensuring forecast benefits and strategic objectives are delivered. Importantly however Scotland Excel’s User Intelligence Group of local authority leads meets once or twice a year to share data, develop specifications, discuss innovation and provide detailed feedback on supplier and product performance. This bringing together of telecare, telehealth and procurement staff ensures all of Scotland benefit from the very best practice employed across the Scottish public sector.
Scotland Excel recently extended the current framework for 24 months and will use this time to develop a new generation framework, complete with enhanced digital capability and home health monitoring. Scotland Excel will take forward the development in partnership with colleagues from the Scottish Government, NHS and local government, ensuring the much needed cohesive and joined-up approach required to support the successful integration of health and social care.
The telecare and telehealth framework sits within the wider landscape of care provision in Scotland. The social care category team at Scotland Excel promotes the benefits of telecare across other service arrangements including care home services for older people, where the use of telecare and health monitoring can provide a more proactive approach to supporting people living in residential care. In addition to residential care for older people, telecare lifestyle monitoring is now being used for adults with learning disabilities to promote ongoing independence and in particular reduce the need for unnecessary sleepovers, which can be obtrusive to the person wanting further independence in their daily life.
As Alyson highlighted in her earlier article, technology-enabled care has to be an area where procurement takes a strategic leadership role. Scotland Excel looks forward to continuing on a strategic procurement path with our public sector partners.
☛ Euan Kidd is procurement coordinator at Scotland Excel