NHSX has begun work on a Digital Social Care Record Programme aimed at accelerating the adoption of digital records by providers by social care providers.
It has pointed to the slow progress in making use of digital technology and records in the sector, saying that 30% of providers are still using entirely paper based systems and another 30% are only partially digitised.
This is preventing them from becoming part of a fully integrated care system and slowed down the adoption of new technologies that could provide improve the quality of care.
NHSX – the digital policy body inside the Department for Health and Social Care – has carried out some primary user research into the issue to understand the demand and any blockers in the way of adopting solutions. This has helped to define the high level scope of the programme and the next steps.
It has now begun to look for support in a short user research project, to begin in mid-October, to define the key functions and core information of a digital social care record.
“Many care providers lack the basic broadband connectivity and devices that they need to access remote care,” the market notice says. “Many care staff do not use digital social care records and, those that do, are rarely able to view information from shared records that would give them the full picture of the individual in their care.”
The programme is also aimed at understanding how the Data Security Protection Toolkit can be adapted to meet the needs of the social care sector. This will inform work to determine whether it needs a different approach to increase the take-up of secure email systems, support data sharing and provide assurance that data is being handled securely.
The failure to bring many care providers into the digital infrastructure has long been identified as a problem for the sector. In the past, the Care Software Providers Association has been among the bodies highlighting the need for data standards and digital maturity in social care. It has been involved in initiatives such as the creation of the Digital Social Care website with NHS Digital, the Care Provider Alliance and Skills for Care.
Image from IET, public domain