The PSC case-studies: entry

Digital Roadmap for Learning Disabilities & Autism

We worked with Surrey Heartlands ICS to build a digital roadmap highlighting priority digital initiatives for further investment for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism.

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Digital Roadmap for Learning Disabilities & Autism

The Challenge

This project focused on understanding how Surrey Heartlands’ digital initiatives have worked to help realise the local vision and strategy to combat inequalities for those with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism (LD&A) in Surrey, to identify areas that could potentially benefit from future funding and support. 

LD&A and Digital leadership in the ICS were aware of many existing and potential digital initiatives and capabilities in the community which could be utilised to meet the needs of people with LD&A. 

These initiatives however had not been codified and mapped against needs of people with LD&A. This work aimed to ensure future investment aligned to the most pressing needs of people with LD&A, and the system’s strategic vision. 


The Approach

Our approach in this project consisted of four main stages. We conducted lived experience engagements, facilitated collaborative and multidisciplinary digital initiative ideation, reviewed safety and clinical concerns and finally developed a digital 3-year investment roadmap for the ICS.


Lived experience of Learning Disabilities and Autism

The key question we used to understand the needs of people with LD&A was: “What are the challenges, success stories and future opportunities for using digital technology to address the needs of people with LD&A?”

To address this question, we conducted a range of lived experience engagements. We conducted a blend of focus group and 1:1 engagements, facilitated with lived experience expert support from a Digital Citizen Ambassador at Healthwatch Surrey.

We worked with the following groups as part of our engagement:

  • Surrey People’s Voices
  • LD Partnership Board
  • Autism by Experience
  • Redhill Office Project Speaking Up group
  • Sunnybank Trust
  • Include.Org Champions

Through these engagements, we identified five key themes along with the following insights:

  1. Adapting communication and maximising accessibility - “I want to communicate for my health and care in a way that works best for my preferences”
  2. Supporting independence and maximising health outcomes - “I want to manage my daily needs on my own to stay healthy”
  3. Maximising social connectedness - “I want to continue connecting with others on online platforms and in-person"
  4. Offering support for safety and inclusion - “As a family member or carer, I want support to access digital technology and to ensure safety”
  5. Building integrated system for professionals - “As a professional, I want well-connected systems to offer the best care”


Digital Initiative Ideation

Through system-wide, multidisciplinary workshops, frontline staff and leaders from the ICS, Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust, the Surrey Health Tech Accelerator and voluntary organisations participated in an exploratory ideation exercise.

We considered which existing digital solutions were currently working well, and which potential future digital solutions could be explored. Examples of digital solutions included remote monitoring solutions for community and home-based care, apps for self-care and adjusted communication tools. Then, we considered how the proposed solutions could be clustered and categorised to address the key themes from lived experience.

We also ensured concerns around safety, safeguarding and clinical appropriateness were documented through input from primary and secondary care-based clinicians.


Development of a digital roadmap

Digital initiatives proposed in the ideation stage were clustered based on their functionalities and categorised by lived experience theme. Their maturity towards implementation were also mapped across stages towards delivery. We ensured priority initiatives were strongly aligned with national strategies including NHSX’s What Good Looks Like Framework for digital transformation, and also local strategies like the ICS’s LD&A Delivery Plan. For example, the implementation of the reasonable adjustment API pilot was a priority project for the NHSE and NHSD’s LD&A team.

Finally, the high-level costs, resources, timescales and other activities required to deliver these initiatives over a 3-year period were explored and documented in our digital investment roadmap. 


The Impact

The project ultimately produced a digital roadmap, which laid out all key recommendations. This roadmap identified an immediate funding opportunity of at least £1 million for 3 years across 7 initiatives, to improve the quality of life of people with LD&A in Surrey.

The roadmap was incorporated into the ICS’s wider 3-year digital investment portfolio, with LD&A needs clearly highlighted and funding opportunities sought collaboratively with interdependent programmes of work. Leads were identified for each digital initiative to support the delivery of discovery, design, development and deployment.

Beyond just this project, the project design and approach to building an ICS-level investment roadmap centred around lived experience insights through multidisciplinary collaboration was shared as a forward-thinking, best practice method for other teams in the system (e.g. Mental Health).

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