Topol Digital Fellowship in social care: My journey so far...

Preet Shergill

The Topol Digital Fellowship has been an instrumental initiative, setting a precedent for innovation and collaboration within the UK healthcare sector. As I approach the culmination of my journey in Cohort 4, I've gleaned valuable insights that I believe could significantly benefit my peers in social care. Here's my reflection on what I've learned and why others in the field should consider applying.

The value of social care in the Topol Digital Fellowship

Being part of the inaugural social care Topol Digital Fellows is a milestone worth celebrating. This inclusion acknowledges the pivotal role social care plays in the broader healthcare landscape. It offers a unique platform for professionals like me to engage with NHS colleagues, learn from their experiences, and actively participate in shaping the future of healthcare. Historically, healthcare discourse has often revolved around the NHS, leaving social care in the shadows, despite its profound impact on vulnerable individuals and communities. The Fellowship's embrace of social care marks a significant step towards bridging this gap and fostering a more holistic approach to healthcare.

Embracing digital innovation in social care

My advocacy for digital innovation in social care has deepened during this journey. The COVID-19 pandemic compelled us to transform our care services, transitioning from paper-based care records to a digital platform. This shift streamlined our processes, enhanced transparency and ultimately improved the quality of care for our residents. Successful projects like a cloud-based rota and communication system have revolutionised employee management, fostering better coordination and, in turn, enhancing resident care. Additionally, an applicant tracking system has expedited our recruitment efforts, ensuring a robust workforce.

My project: digital, data and falls prevention

For my Fellowship project, I've chosen to focus on falls prevention, a critical concern for those in care homes. Falls are not only physically harmful but emotionally distressing for residents and costly for the healthcare system. In my local area of Buckinghamshire, the number of people over 85 is set to rise by 78% over the next 12 years, necessitating robust falls prevention strategies. The annual cost of fragility fractures, including social care, stands at £4.4 billion. My project aims to leverage digital technology and data to gain insights into falls prevention, with the goal of developing effective strategies. Through data-driven insights, we can proactively address falls risks and explore how digital innovations can play a transformative role in mitigating this issue.

Collaboration and representation

Collaboration has been at the heart of my Fellowship experience. Engaging with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and learning from experts in various domains has been invaluable. However, it has also highlighted disparities in access to platforms like the FutureNHS collaboration channel between NHS and social care colleagues.

As a representative of social care in the Topol Digital Fellowship, I'm committed to bridging this gap and ensuring that social care professionals have equal access to transformative resources and opportunities.

My journey so far has been transformative, empowering me to advocate for digital innovation in social care and delve into crucial projects like falls prevention. As we strive for better care outcomes, the integration of technology and data-driven insights will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of social care.

I am grateful for the opportunity to represent social care in this esteemed Fellowship and look forward to contributing to the advancement of healthcare through collaboration and digital innovation. Together, we can create a future where every individual, regardless of their age or health condition, receives the highest quality of care and support.