THE ADASS STANDARDS and performance policy network is launching a new piece of work at  the annual NCASC conference this year: supported by Tunstall Healthcare, it pulls together a series of useful metrics to help local authorities monitor their progress*.
Evaluating Your Telecare Service: Improving Quality and Outcomes is primarily aimed at commissioners and providers of social care and health services who have identified technology-enabled care services (TECS) as an effective way to support the health and social care needs of their local population.  
It will sit alongside the “Telehealthcare Quality Standard” and provides sufficient detail in order to frame a set of metrics that directors of social services and stakeholders can use to monitor the progress of telecare locally. At present the mostly widely used metric is simply the number of users.  

Many local authorities would be interested in metrics that measured:

• Value for money 
• Return on investment/benefit realisation from using technology to avoid service provision 
• Improved outcomes for the individual receiving technology 
• Timeliness of assessment for technology after referral
• Timeliness of provision of technology after referral
• Data on the types of technology being used e.g. whether simple or complex, for use inside the home or outside the home
So we set about pulling together a working group. In developing this document, Tunstall was referred to and I would like to thank Jim Ellam, Project Lead, Staffordshire County Council who have a well-developed telecare service and to Nathan Downing regional telehealthcare lead in West Midlands for their contribution to the development of these metrics. 
In addition the ADASS West Midlands Telehealthcare Network has provided excellent feedback in the development of these metrics, in particular Sue Williams, Chair. 

We didn’t intend this document to be prescriptive, enforcing one model of service on each commissioner, but wanted it to be used as a framework tool which can be adapted for each locality based on the needs of the particular area. 

  • Communication plan in place with a series of measures and a methodology to review its impact on an 6 monthly basis to test if the plan having the desired affect
  • Mandatory annual awareness training for all teams indicates that you are working towards a holistic service which will improve outcomes for individual and create efficiencies in the system
  • Assessment metrics will demonstrate that the right people are receiving technology as part of the care package and are able to benefit from enhanced independence and care support
  • Implementation metrics cover processes which will ensure that the end to end process is working efficiently in order to reduce or prevent reliance on statutory services
Service review
  • Service Review metrics cover processes which should identify changing needs for the service user and for the commissioner in order to prevent needs escalating, improve service delivery or signpost to other services
Effectiveness audit
  • Effectiveness Audit metrics cover processes which identify true outcomes for the service user and the efficiency savings across the system

Technology enabled care services should be seen as an integral tool within the overall health or care package and not a stand-alone service. When used most effectively it is within an integrated approach to assessing the overall holistic needs of the individual. 
So we hope this document tries to answer the question - how do we measure the outcomes from telecare for people and the overall service - and importantly supports more people to live an even better life. 
Paul Najsarek
Joint chair
ADASS Standards and Performance Network

* See download below