Interoperability between housing and social care: driving better outcomes for residents to keep them safe and well

Emma Mahy headshot 112x112
Emma Mahy
CEO & Founder, IoT Solutions Group

In his recent TAPPI blog post, the TSA’s Steve Sadler raises critical points on the importance of interoperability regarding tech-enabled care. However, there is growing traction in this field for interoperability between housing and social care.

For example, the TSA (supported by the Housing LIN) is hosting a stage at Housing 2023 (Europe's largest housing festival) in Manchester for the first time this week (27-29 June). In this blog post, we look at a case study for sharing insights (in this case around temperature and humidity data for damp, mould and fuel poverty risk), as well as comments from experts in the TEC and Housing fields about the importance of this within-organisation interoperability.

One such forward-thinking organisation is East Boro Housing Association in Dorset. In discussions with their chief executive, Kevin Hodder, he explains that we shouldn't underestimate how the quality and condition of somebody's home environment clearly links with the resident's health and wellbeing. Therefore, as an organisation, they have taken the approach of monitoring the living environment (the housing side of things) and the resident (support and alert to their care needs). Their housing management team receives temperature and humidity data alerts to potential damp or mould scenarios in the property, whilst their social care team uses the same device to monitor the resident's daily activity and fuel poverty risk.

The recent TEC Action Alliance Challenge paper, ‘Technology-enabled lives: Delivering outcomes for people and providers’, also supports this joined-up working approach. In the conclusions and recommendations of this paper, a takeaway action calls for joined-up working between health and care practitioners supported by housing to ensure that services are coordinated and integrated through information sharing.

In the paper, Helena Zaum (also a TAPPI Steering Board member) praises the value of data in effective care. She comments that it "requires 'the system' to orchestrate support across a variety of different people, agencies, and assets (for example technology and housing).".

Roy Sandbach OBE also calls for

"the mobilisation and training of everyone in the broader care world to equip them to drive technology adoption with common-cause innovation at heart. This must include all agencies and businesses in housing…".

As many readers will understand, the TAPPI principles exist to guide building technology into housing in a way that improves life for our ageing population. Interoperability is one of the 10 principles and this interoperability between housing and social care supports implementing these TAPPI principles as highlighted below:

  • Preventative – Focused on prevention rather than reactive models
    Sharing property monitoring data between housing and social care teams provides the opportunity to continuously monitor a home's environmental conditions. Teams can promptly identify potential health risks and take preventive measures or offer necessary interventions to protect the person's health and wellbeing before conditions escalate. This collective effort can naturally foster a preventative mindset and promote a comprehensive approach to care.
  • Person-centred – putting the person first to give control over own environment, care and support needs, etc.
    The sharing of data across organisational functions allows for the prioritisation of those most in need of support from a housing and/or social care perspective. Collaborative decision-making is also facilitated, supported by a wealth of data for informed choices. An individual's living environment can then be aligned with their preferences and needs.
  • Cost-effective – offer value for money and benefit both to individuals but also to workforces in local housing and care economies
    Recent technological innovations mean multiple sets of important data can now be achieved from a single device. With a cross-function, collaborative approach, the cost of that device could be split (and therefore lower) across the benefitting teams, e.g. property management and social care. Savings can also be made through efficient resource allocation for timely maintenance and repairs to prevent further deterioration of the living environment. Additionally, extensive research supports the proposal that a prevention-focused approach can help avoid costly medical interventions.
  • Interoperable – ability to integrate and work across systems and platforms to meet individuals' diverse needs and aspirations
    As mentioned in Steve Sadler's article, standardisation is critical. Using standardised data formats and protocols or through a shared platform, both parties can easily communicate and understand the data. This interoperability allows for efficient collaboration and communication, facilitating coordinated care, decision-making and organised interventions. There is also the opportunity for combined data analysis (potentially from other additional sources) to identify trends and how they influence individuals' wellbeing.

As we can see from the TAPPI framework and TEC Action Alliance Challenge Paper, the overarching aim is to drive better outcomes for residents. As we have shown above, this data sharing can support the empowerment and independence of residents, improve responsiveness to their needs, provide important reassurance and deliver effective prioritisation and improved responsiveness based on their individual needs, including creating healthier dwellings.

All these recent works also highlight that the most significant benefits from TEC come from personalisation, scale and a drive for continuous improvement. If we can do this whilst keeping the costs down and maintaining interoperability (within and outside individual organisations), we can continue driving better outcomes. By delivering the right data, at the right time and for the right reasons to the right people, we can help people lead healthier, happier lives. And those right people may be outside of your immediate department!

For more information about IoT Solutions, visit:

Find out more about the TAPPI Inquiry and current phase of the TSA/Housing LIN programme here.

Lastly, if you are in Manchester this week for Housing 2023 (opens new window) three-day conference, come and visit us at the TSA/Housing LIN Tec stage.


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