17 January, 2022

HTW publishes Social Care Action Plan

Health Technology Wales (HTW) has published an Action Plan setting out how to adapt its processes for the social care sector.

The plan follows the launch of a partnership with Social Care Wales which was set up with the aim of sharing expertise about how HTW can better engage with the social care sector in Wales and ensure its methods meet the sector’s needs.

Through the partnership the two organisations joined forces to run a series of events including a roundtable for leaders from health and social care, government, academia and policy and a workshop for people accessing social care, their carers and social care professionals.

The events culminated in the publication of two reports, reflecting findings from the workshop and roundtable discussion, which were used to form the Social Care Action Plan.  To read the Action Plan click here. 

The information gathered during the two events will support the launch of Health Technology Wales’ first Social Care Topic Call later this month and has led to a review of HTW’s website and key documentation to ensure the language used is accessible to those who wish to submit a topic.

The aim of the roundtable event which ran in May 2021 was to understand what adaptations could be made to the health technology assessment process to make it fit for purpose for social care in Wales. Some key findings included:

  • First, participants emphasised that people working within HTA should be aware of the realities of social care that will pose challenges. These may be related to de-centralised and fragmented delivery of care, staffing turnover, and less developed links between social care and research environments.
  • Second, participants highlighted that a more flexible approach is needed to ensure benefits related to person-centeredness, dignity and respect, and abilities are captured and that real world evidence from both research and non-research settings support decision-making. Consideration will also need to be given to how economic evaluation can support assessments of value using adapted methods.
  • Third, efforts will be needed to ensure that there is diverse representation of voices from social care, both to support continuing conversations about adaptations that stem from this roundtable and to inform appraisals and guide decision-making in the longer term.
  • Finally, participants were clear that HTA must support change within social care to ensure ongoing buy-in from partners. HTW will need to consider how guidance is communicated to ensure awareness and should explore how adoption of guidance can be promoted and measured.

To read the full roundtable report click here

The workshop event held in May was focussed on understanding whether people felt able to interact with HTW and to explore how accessible HTW’s public facing materials, such as the website are.

Key findings included:

  • Participants highlighted that more inclusive language that reflected both health and social care would help remove barriers and considering a strengths-based approach may be beneficial
  • People were keen to explore whether the process could be made to feel less “one way” with more of a dialogue between topic proposer and the HTW team and whether additional support could be made available to people from social care to support submission of topics for appraisal
  • Participants also raised that evidence will be a challenge in social care and that HTW should be aware that outcomes may be harder to measure and an adapted approach may be needed.

To read the full workshop report click here.