The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has developed a scheme to help larger providers of social care in England to access funding to help digitise their care records.
This comes in response to an acknowledgement, pointed out last week in a report from the National Audit Office, that it is likely to miss its target of 80% of providers using digital records by March 2024. The NAO reported that the level is expected to reach around 70%.
Alice Ainsworth, deputy director social care technology policy in DHSC, said in a blogpost that its analysis shows the very largest and smallest providers are least likely to have made the switch from paper to digital, and that there are some significant regional variations.
In response, it is enabling the larger providers to access funding directly rather than going through integrated care boards (ICBs); and is going to explore the needs of smaller providers and how it can improve its support for ICBs with the furthest to go.
While acknowledging the difficulties, Ainsworth said there has been considerable progress under the £150 million Digitising Social Care programme. This has included around 1,300 providers now being able to access information from GP records for the people they care for.
Jumping at chance
“Many providers have jumped at the chance to access the funding and support available and are positive about the opportunities technology opens up to improve the ways they work, and how they support people,” she said.
“Providers have matched this enthusiasm with their own time and financial investment, in the knowledge that digital social care records (DSCRs) and care technologies can make their organisation more efficient and improve the quality and safety of care. It’s also been heartening to see the early adopters support others in the sector, sharing their experiences and best practice.”
In addition, integration of DSCRs with the GP Connect information sharing platform will be a requirement for all assured technology suppliers next year, DHSC has launched the Adult Social Care Technology Fund, and it has updated its digital skills framework and training database.