William Eichler 06 March 2023

Guide to the use of AI in social care published

Guide to the use of AI in social care published image
Image: Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz/Shutterstock.com.

A new guide has been launched to help councils and social care providers avoid common pitfalls when introducing new technology into adult social care.

Produced by the University of Birmingham and RAND Europe, the guide looks at decision making and implementation processes for home sensors with AI capabilities.

These sensors are used to collect data on regular habits. This data is then used to build a picture of people’s usual routines and flag when a significant change takes place which can be a sign of deteriorating health or well-being.

A study carried out by the Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation (BRACE) found that there were issues with implementation and decision making which undermined the potentially positive outcomes of using technology such as AI in social care.

BRACE is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, RAND Europe, the University of Cambridge and National Voices which conducts rapid evaluations of new services and innovations in health and social care

The University of Birmingham and RAND Europe guide draws on BRACE’s study to set out a series of recommendations to help those responsible for providing care get the most from new technology.

It recommends, for example, being clear about what you are trying to achieve and involving people who draw on care and support, and assessing whether your current digital infrastructure is ready for this new tool.

Jon Glasby, professor of health and social care at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘Technology could have the potential to transform the way we deliver social care, but so many attempts to introduce new technology seem to over-promise and under-deliver. This could be for many different reasons, including a lack of understanding or fear of technology, unrealistic expectations about what technology can achieve, or underestimating the importance of social and cultural change alongside technological solutions.

‘In our new guide, which has been co-badged by Digital Social Care and social care colleagues from the NHS England Transformation Directorate, we set out some of the common pitfalls to help other Councils and social care providers who want to go down this route.’

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