Health Secretary Sajid Javid has set a target for 80% of social care providers to be using digitised records by March of 2024.
He highlighted the target in a speech to the Care England 2022 conference, at which he also said the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) will publish the first digital health and care plan during the spring.
Javid said the target for digital care records is being backed by a £150 million investment and will be a key element of the plan to increase the use of technology.
“We know that digitising records brings huge advances, yet 40% of providers still have almost entirely paper based records,” he said.
“I think digital records are basic responsibility, and that’s why I’ve set the target of 80% of social care providers digitising care records by March 2024. In doing that, you will have our absolute support.”
He acknowledged that this will amount to a culture change for much of the sector, but said the investment will help to provide connectivity and digital skills to make it possible.
This is accompanied by the intention to publish a digital health and care plan, which Javid described as “an essential stepping stone on our vital journey to transform social care through technology”.
He also flagged up the potential making greater use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in social care, and technology such as sensors in the homes of vulnerable people to detect whether they have had falls.
Javid said these are part of a three pronged approach to improving social care. There are also plans to raise skills among the workforce through measures such as issuing portable care certificates and a new skills passport, along with leadership development and support; and to invest at least £300 million in supported housing over the next three years.