This week is national co-production week, which is actually rather important. But why does it matter?
Today we launch the Digital Pioneers programme in the East of England, which is driving forward use of innovation and technology in our health and care services.
In my area - Huntingdonshire, we recognise the impact that technology could have on rehabilitation support. According to the British Heart Foundation, Cardiovascular disease still kills around one in four people in the UK. Research shows cardiac rehabilitation reduces the risk of death from heart disease by 26 to 36% and reduces readmissions by 28 to 56%. However, uptake in the UK is low. Our CR+ project aims to improve the cardiac rehabilitation offer and increase engagement levels.
The CR+ concept combines three elements. Firstly, a new educational syllabus for self-care integrated with the existing exercise programme. Secondly, the use of Activ8rlives (A8) self-care technology developed with support from innovation broker, SBRI Healthcare. The third element is to create a self-supporting follow-on support social group.
We are working with patients and volunteers to co-produce and deliver the project. Without their expertise and support from the start, it would be at a high risk of failure. Mirror this throughout the health and care sector and you will see how we can bring about the changes necessary for a sustainable transformation.
Connecting people and motivating them to work well together is the hardest challenge for us. Fortunately the NHS is currently funding the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (and 14 more AHSNs across regions in England) which work as a link between all critical organisations in our area. They also support us with training, guidance and access to project funding. Having that central driving force is essential.
I believe that by using co-production methods like this, our public health and care services can move towards the future that we all hope for. That is why it matters.
We have two other co-produced Digital Pioneer projects being launched this week, one is focused on
digital Inclusion for children and young people and one is supporting paramedics assessment of stroke patients, both in Suffolk. Visit the Eastern AHSN website to read more.