NHS Digital is working in a partnership on the development of a new website to support social care providers in adopting digital technology.
Named Digital Social Care, it is currently in its beta phase and involves a group of organisations including the Care Provider Alliance, Care England, the National Care Association, the National Care Forum, Skills for Care, the UK Homecare Association and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, with the Registered Nursing Home Association providing the point of contact.
James Palmer (pictured), programme head social care at NHS Digital, said a formal launch is planned for next month and that it reflects the organisation’s desire for increased information sharing supported by digital technology across the care sector.
Speaking at UKAuthority’s Digital Health and Social Care conference on Friday, he said: “We’re working very closely with the social care sector, particularly the provider sector, to start engagements with the IT suppliers and have a discussion about interoperability, platforms and working collectively.”
The website currently includes a set of online resources for care providers, including an introduction to cyber security, guidance on third part contracts and templates on citizen leaflets, data protection policy and data quality policy. It also includes a series of frequently asked questions with an emphasis on data protection.
Palmer said the site is also intended to act as a network to encourage care providers to embrace digital technology, and emphasised that NHS Digital has an influence on the themes but not on what is published.
“There is a recognition from the care provider community that they haven’t spent money in this space, and they recognise that it is their responsibility to do so, even though it is a challenge with the resources they have,” he said.
NHS Digital is also working with care providers to understand what they need – with input from local authorities and GPs. This could lead digital maturity self-assessments and guidance on what systems they need to procure.