The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has set out seven success measures for digital working in adult social care services.
They form the structure of its new guidance document, What Good Looks Like, directed at integrated care systems (ICSs) with specific advice for local authorities and care providers.
It is described as an “aspirational framework” and has been developed with the Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and stakeholders in the care provider sector.
First of the seven is for an organisation’s leaders to fully understand the benefits of digital technology, with the confidence and capability to drive forward transformation. It includes recommendations including that councils should have strong representation on integrated care boards (ICBs) and follow the basics of good practice in the use of technology and data, such as building skills among staff and setting up strong information governance.
Care providers should have clear investment plans for digital, which includes engaging with their ICS on funding opportunities, make better use of data and ensure any sharing is done in line with data protection laws.
Second is to ensure smart foundations are in place with a modern and secure digital infrastructure, giving staff reliable access to comprehensive and up-to-date digital records. Working with an ICS to facilitate a fully shared care record is a significant element of this step.
Security and safety
Third is to ensure safe practice in data and cyber security, staying up-to-date with digital safety standards and regulatory policy, and embedding good practice among staff.
Fourthly, it is necessary to develop a skilled workforce who can identify and use appropriate technology safely. This can help to embed digital technology in frontline practice, including social work referrals, assessments and reviews.
Fifth is to empower people through a person centred approach to the design and use of digital technologies. It includes supporting integrated health and care records within an ICS.
Sixth is to focus on the effective use of technology and data to support the delivery of high quality, personalized care. This includes using the tech to free up time for human interactions.
Finally, having good data to understand and plan for the needs of a local population can support public health, reducing inequalities and improving outcomes for all people.
DHSC has indicated that the framework will be updated based on feedback.
Transformation public and staff
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: "Technology embedded into care and support can be transformative both for people who need care and staff in the sector. Innovative technology in care settings improves care and can increase the time that care workers spend with the people they care for.
"The guidance and standards published today will give social care staff the support they need to improve their digital capabilities.
Sonia Patel, system chief information officer at NHS England, said: "This new guidance is a significant step in ensuring our digital ‘north star’ is clear in all health and care settings, helping reduce health inequalities in every community in England.
"We’ve worked closely with social care colleagues to provide the What Good Looks Like guidance for adult social care, building on the framework we’ve already published for integrated care systems and providers which we’ll be updating later this year."