Smarter working in social and health care : Professional perspectives on a new technology for risk appraisal with older people
There is growing emphasis on prevention, personalisation and self-care or active citizenship in England. This paper reports on the Smarter Working in Social care & Health (SWISH) study of the development of an information technology system that allows older people to assess their own health and to receive personalised feedback and considers the implications for social work practice and commissioning. The study took place in two London areas (2005-7). Its objectives were 1) to refine a method to improve access to information and services, and to identify older people at risk, and 2) to examine the potential of the method to enrich public sector information and to profile local populations to inform local commissioners. A multi-method approach consolidated findings from focus groups and interviews with older people and professionals. Under the first objective, views were mixed. The existing health risk assessment tool was seen as comprehensive, with the capacity to identify low-level risks to well-being, although possibly burdensome. Under the second objective, social workers and managers were uncertain how to make use of local population data and to the capacity of local resources to meet information needs. Messages for practitioners and managers are drawn.