Digital Mindset Session – Fully Funded Opportunity

The Digitally Enabled Workforce (DEW) team at NHS Education for Scotland has an upcoming opportunity – Digital Mindset Sessions. This fully funded opportunity is open to those in board-level roles across health and care organisations in Scotland (including executives, non-executives, trustees, elected members), see information below. More information can also be found on the Leading in the Digital Age Board Development site or for any other questions, or specific requests please contact the team direct by email at [email protected].

Spaces are available from April to June.


Digital & Data Skills Resource Hub – Pilot launched

The Digitally Enabled Workforce (DEW) Team from NHS Education for Scotland has recently launched the Digital and Data Skills Resource Hub. Colleagues across health and social care (including housing, charities and third sector) are invited to join the pilot phase, running throughout the month of March.

Anyone working or volunteering within the sector can register to receive a link to the hub, where they’ll have a chance to browse and access over 200 free resources, before leaving feedback via a short online evaluation form.

Please register for this here.


Near Me Care Home Newsletter

Near Me video consultations can support your residents to have their health or care appointments without having to leave their homes. A two-page newsletter has been published for Care Home Managers and staff across Scotland.

In this article, Rikke Iversholt – Programme Lead for Social Care & Telecare – part of the Scottish Government Digital Health and Care Team – explains some of the benefits and how to get set up. Tried and tested Near Me allows residents and staff to have free video calls with a wide range of health and care professionals as well as family members plus connect with social care group events.

Read the newsletter here

Digital Health & Care Leadership Programme – Open for Aug 2023

Applications are now open for Cohort 21 of the Digital Health and Care Leadership Programme (DLP).  This programme will start in August 2023 and is designed for anyone who is:

  • Interested in digital health and care
  • Keen to explore how technology can benefit people
  • Would like to develop their leadership skills
  • In a position to make a change in their organisation (e.g. leading a team, service or digital transformation project)

As part of the programme, participants will progress a digital improvement project within their organisation.  There will be an opportunity to develop their project idea in the early stages of the programme. You can find projects from past participants on our DLP site. Potential projects ideas could include:

  • Introducing a digital referral method
  • Introducing remote health monitoring for patients/service users
  •  Harnessing service user data (e.g., creating dashboards) in a way which allows improvements to services to be made
  • Leading on a system roll out in your organisation
  • Adoption of an M365 app in your service
  • Evaluation of a digital service which has been introduced into your organisation
  • Roll out of technology enabled care devices or service
  • Adoption of a decision support tool
  • Utilising prescribing data to improve patient care
  • Introducing and evaluating Near Me remote consultations / Near Me group consultations for patients/service users to improve access to services
  • Introducing, improving or evaluating digital technology to share targeted and specific treatment/intervention based information with people using services

Applications are welcome from employees NHS Scotland, social care, housing and the third sector.  Multidisciplinary team applications from those who wish to work collaboratively on a project are also welcome. More information about the programme, including application guidance can be found on the DLP siteAny queries should be directed to [email protected]  and you can also follow the programme on Twitter at @nes_dlp.

DLP Cohort 21

Download flyer

Technologies for living with dementia

Since beginning the Care Technologist project, the team have picked up from conversations that there can sometimes be a misconception that technologies do not fit into a support plan for people living with dementia. This is suggested partly due to a gap in understanding the variety of ways people and technology can interact together. We are going to de-bunk this today!

To understand the variety of ways technology exists in our lives, it’s important to first look at our perceptions of what technology is and how we interact with it.

So, what is technology?

The Care Technologist team consider technology to be any device, system or tool that has been scientifically designed with the purpose of enabling and supporting practical living. This means that technology doesn’t have to be plugged in, downloaded, signed up for or turned on – as long as it’s designed for assisting or streamlining practical living, it has a technological use. While technology does not have to be for everyone, the team believe that everyone should have the choice to use technology in their daily lives.

What are the ways that technology interacts?

Secondly, the way we interact with technology can differ. There are many devices, systems and tools that require a user – someone to turn it on, sign up, log in, and operate it in order to access the benefits. Some technology requires this only at the beginning of use, others not at all. The latter technology is simply working in the background, supporting practical living just by being there – providing prompts and reminders, sensory support, allowing communication and monitoring safety. This sort of technology can be especially useful for those who don’t want the burden of managing multiple devices, being responsible for charging and updating it, or don’t have the knowledge of how to do these things.

Finally, when considering how technology can support people living with dementia, it’s important to be aware of the varying stages and types of dementia, and how different symptoms can interact or affect technology use. There are over 200 sub-types of dementia which present different challenges, ranging from changes to mobility, cognition, sight and judgement (data from Dementia UK). Some technology will be more suitable for some people than others, but there will always be technology to support people, regardless of the type of dementia they live with.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a shortlist of technology we are currently working with that supports practical living, that is especially beneficial for supporting people living with forms of dementia.

Kettle Companion

Kettle Companions (a small light-up sphere) can be placed in a loved ones’ home to allow light touch monitoring. A secondary twin device is placed in a family member’s home which will turn to a different colour when their loved one is boiling their kettle, or in the instance the kettle hasn’t boiled by a pre-set time.

Locating tags

Tags are a versatile tracker for keys, bags, phones, remote controls and more. This device works with Bluetooth, can be managed via smartphone app and can pinpoint a lost item on a map. If you have the tile handy, it’s possible to reverse the locator and find the smartphone too.

Hydration reminders

These small devices attach to any water bottle or standard sized glass and blink to remind you to hydrate, can detect when you take a drink. Ideal reminders for those who need a gentle prompt to stay hydrated, but only use a blinking light to do so – therefore not ideal for those with low vision. We’re looking for other hydration reminders that support a wider range of people, so stay tuned!

Companion pet

Robotic pets such as cats are great for homes unable to host animals and have proven to be a therapeutic aid for people living with dementia. The team have seen these pets work wonders for residents in a care home setting and bring lots of joy to those around them!

  • Cat purrs, sleeps, reacts to attention
  • Can be muted while turned on
  • Uses batteries

Universal remote

A simplified TV remote can be a small adjustment to make, but great for improving independence. The remote pairs to any TV, and reduces the button varieties to just the essentials.

  • Large buttons that are easy to press and well-spaced out
  • Ideal for people living with dementia or with low visibility

If you would like to know more about technology that we are using to support people to live well and independently, we have collated a catalogue of technology we are currently using in the Care Technologist project. If you would like to be sent a copy, please email [email protected] and specify if you would like a digital or paper copy.

For more information on technology, dementia and assisted living, we think these links below are worth a look at too:

The power of listening devices – and how to control your data

Just over half of households with internet access in the UK own a voice assistant – an Echo Dot or Google Hub for example – and there is evidence that this number will continue to increase. Listening devices can have a massive impact on improving independence, control and convenience in someone’s home, however there is reluctance amongst some to use them. As Care Technologists, we often hear people talking about how “Alexa is always listening to you” and “Google is recording all of your conversations”. So how much truth is there behind such ideas? And what are some of the things to consider around data privacy and voice assistants?

It is undeniable the convenience a voice assistant can provide. Being able to switch the lights and heating on and off with a simple voice command can have an incredibly positive impact on people who maybe struggle with their mobility. But it is also undeniable that in order to answer these voice commands, a voice assistant has to be able to listen to you. Sound unnerving? Don’t worry, there are ways to control how much is heard by your voice assistant.

Using an Echo listening device (Amazon)

With any Alexa device, there is the option to switch the microphone off completely with the mute button. Your Alexa device will light up red when the microphone is muted and this can be really useful  – even for smaller things, like if you are wanting to avoid any unwanted disruptions during a film. With devices that have a camera such as the Echo Show there is also the option to slide a cover over the camera, which is great if you have the drop-in function enabled but are not wanting anyone to see you at a particular time.

Using other listening devices

Furthermore, any voice assistant will make you aware if they are listening by lighting up or making a chime sound. Alexa for example will only listen to what you are saying when you say the default wake word “Alexa” – this is called keyword spotting. Think of it like a strainer; the Alexa device will allow the words you say to filter through until it hears “Alexa”, at which point it will activate its listening and recording capabilities.

If this isn’t enough, you can also ask Alexa to delete any voice recordings either from a certain time frame, or the entire time you have owned the device. This can be done by asking your Alexa device directly using your voice, online or through the Alexa app. With the Google assistant, you can ask it to enter ‘guest mode’ which means interaction will not be saved at any time, protecting your privacy even further.

Data collection

What about data collection and voice assistants? For a lot of people this has become an increasingly important issue and something that is often at the front of people’s minds, especially when it comes to smart technology – and understandably so. In the summer of 2021, Amazon received a £636m fine from the European Union due to collecting customers’ data unlawfully (Amazon hit with $886m fine for alleged data law breach – BBC News). So to say that companies like Amazon are collecting data for purely benevolent reasons to improve their customers’ experience would be naïve. However, companies like Amazon are so regularly in the limelight that as consumers, we know at least that their procedures and data processes are scrutinised carefully and regularly. This is why we sometimes still use their technology over others that may not receive such frequent review.

On the flip side of this, data collection isn’t all bad- it’s important for the functioning of voice assistants, particularly when it comes to learning and responding to the Scottish accent! By collecting data like the sound of your voice and how you might pronounce certain words, it means that it devices are able to adapt to how you speak and provide you with a more accurate service.

Ultimately we believe that there is a huge benefit to everyday living by using virtual assistants. In order to utilise a voice assistant and for it to work well, our data being collected is going to play a part in that. Whether it is to have a more personalised product, or for our voices to be more easily recognised, it is a decision we have to make when considering using voice assistants. The benefits of voice assistants that we as Care Technologist have seen for those in receipt of care ultimately outweighs concerns around privacy.

Formal publication of the Data Strategy – November 2022

Formal publication of the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care Analysis of Consultation Responses, Submitted Consultation Responses and We Asked You Said We Did.

Digital approaches to health and care and the data that drives it has been vital to how we’ve continued to deliver services and offers opportunities to support our plans for remobilisation. As part of the refreshed Digital Health and Care Strategy the Scottish Government are committed to publishing Scotland’s first ever Data Strategy.

The Digital Health and Care directorate have, and continue to, undertake a broad range of engagement with stakeholders and the public to support the development the Data Strategy. You can find a summary of their findings to date here:

The Data Strategy for Health and Social Care Analysis of Consultation Responses has been published and can now be viewed on

Also the responses submitted to the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care consultation have been published on Citizen Space along with the We Asked, You Said, We Did

Professional Development Award – Technology Enabled Care

NHS Education for Scotland have announced that funding is available for the Professional Development Award in Technology Enabled Care. This is delivered in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands, Perth College.

The Professional Development Award (PDA) in Technology Enabled Care at SCQF level 7 aims to equip Scotland’s workforce with the knowledge and skills required to embed Technology Enabled Care into health and social care practice while supporting positive health and wellbeing outcomes for people.

Applications will close on Thursday 24 November 2022, 5:00 pm.

Please see flyer below for more information.

Care Technologist Phase 3 Pilot

Scottish Care are trialling a new Care Technologist role in care at home and care home settings in a 12 month, TEC funded Test of Change.

Following a successful 6-month trial with SRS Specialist Resource Solutions in Aberdeen, the Care Technologist project is extending to 2 further geographical areas – East Ayrshire and Glasgow, and the scope now includes Care Homes and Daycare services.

This Homecare Day 2022, we will be hosting a digital drop-in session for anyone interested to know more about the project and meet the Care Technologists, Katherine Long, Dan Plant and Cheryl Stevenson. This will take place online, 2pm – 3pm on Thursday 22nd September.

‘Join our first Digital Drop-in session here’

We are currently working with Baillieston Community Care, HRM Homecare, SRS Specialist Resource Solutions and care homes represented by Scottish Care to trial the role.

David Reilly, CEO of Baillieston Community Care said: 

“We are absolutely delighted to be taking part in the Care Technologist Project with Scottish Care, and having a Care Technologist working within our organisation. We see technology playing such an important role in the future of Social Care, supporting our workforce and ensuring the best possible outcomes for the people we support. We look forward to the year ahead and seeing the impact that this project will have on the people we support, their families and our staff.”

Lynn Laughland, Managing Director of HRM Homecare Services said:

“At HRM Homecare Services, we are enthusiastic about bringing the role of a Care Technologist into our business and being part of this project with Scottish Care. Digitalisation is important to the growth of the Care Sector, and the benefits of technology can help to support people who access care by ensuring their needs are nurtured through the implementation of appropriate technologies. We are excited and encouraged by the role of Care Technologist and believe this is the right step forward for the Scottish Social Care Sector.”

For more information about the role, our strategy and how we are helping people to live well, you can read more about the Care Technologist below.

If you would like to stay up to date with the progress of the project, you can sign up to receive updates via email or drop-in to one of our online sessions which take place monthly. You can opt-in to either of these by getting in touch below.

Katherine (Care Technologist Lead and care home delivery): [email protected]

Workshop invitation and survey – using algorithmic and AI tools in health and social care

The growing use of algorithms and AI tools to support delivery of care – for example, risk assessment tools, monitoring tools, and tools to support capacity management –  has implications for learning and workforce development at all levels. Scotland’s Digital Health and Care Strategy sets out an objective to “equip our staff with the ability to understand and interrogate data-driven recommendations and decision support tools, including those powered by Artificial Intelligence.”

DHI Scotland and NHS Scotland are now offering two opportunities for you to contribute your perspective on these learning and workforce development needs. They would really appreciate hearing your views by:

  1. Completing this short (10-15 minutes) Questionnaire survey
  2. Joining the virtual workshop “Using AI and algorithms with confidence”  11.00 am – 1.00 pm on 23rd August.  This workshop brings together leaders in the field to share their expertise and insights. It is a great opportunity to learn from experts in the field and to contribute your perspective on developing the workforce to realise the full benefits of these tools. The workshop programme is available below and you can register here using this booking form.
Workshop invitation using AI and algorithms learning needs