Six out of ten care homes and domiciliary care agencies in the Dorset Council area now have electronic records in place as part of an initiative, launched late last year, to digitise their services.

This nationwide initiative aims to help Care Quality Commission (CQC) Registered Adult social care providers, replace paper-based care planning systems, with digital care records.

Digital Social Care Records (DSCR) allow the digital recording of care information and care received by an individual, within a social care setting, replacing traditional paper-based records. DSCRs are person-centred and enable information to be shared securely and in real-time with authorised individuals across the health and care sector. The records play an important role in joining up care across social care and the NHS.

Benefits include:

o    Enhancing efficiency and productivity – digital records enable quick and easy access to information, eliminating time-consuming tasks associated with sifting through paper files.

o    Can be accessed simultaneously by multiple authorised users, facilitating real-time updates and enhancing the coordination of care plans.

o    Improve the continuity of care, enabling better decision-making and reducing the risk of errors or emissions.

o    Contribute to better data accuracy and security.

o    Empower care providers to take a data-driven approach, allowing them to identify trends, monitor outcomes and make informed decisions.

Care South at Home Director, Martin Ross, said: “Care South at Home introduced digital care planning into its services in late 2022.  Operationally it has fundamentally improved the experience and oversight of care delivery for clients, stakeholders, staff, and management teams.  The assessment, care planning, task management, and medication administration processes are comprehensive.  It offers real time oversight of care delivery, alerts to signal non-compliance, reporting to monitor activity, compliance and trends and a portal for stakeholders to access care delivery records.

“Although some staff were nervous about its introduction, without exception feedback can be summed up ‘how did we manage without it’ and ‘it gives more time for our clients’.  It is also a greener, more sustainable and fits better with CQC’s new single assessment framework, including remote monitoring of systems.”

Rachel Bedford, managing director RHB Care Services, which provides domiciliary care across Dorset and the New Forest, said introducing an electronic based system had made a huge different to the firm’s workload:

“It is great to be able to access records 24/7 and ensure the clients are receiving the care they deserve. We are monitoring compliance daily so we can pick up on any concerns at the time and feel this is a much safer way to protect people’s security/data protection. We have seen a reduction in administrative cost, as we are now using less paper and files. Feedback from staff has been amazing:  they feel they have more time to spend with the clients, can handover important things at that time, and communicate more effectively with the rest of the team to ensure the best outcome for the client.

“The family portal is a great, it allows the family to access records (with consent) so they can be updated on the care their loved one is receiving.

The auditing process is allowing us to monitor compliance and trends so we can continue to improve the service we deliver,” she added.

Cllr Jane Somper, Portfolio Lead for Adult Social Care, Housing and Health, welcomed the progress: “Embracing Digital Social Care Records will enable care homes and domiciliary care agencies to harness the benefits of efficiency, communication, data security and evidence-based decision making. I hope more providers will be using electronic records soon.”

The initiative will be part of the discussions at a special conference being organised by Dorset Council and provider Partners in Care at the Hamworthy Club on Magna Road, between Wimborne and Poole, on 21 September, which will bring together care providers to explore and discuss various digital support options available.

There will be a range of informative sessions, engaging showcases, a sector specific exhibition area with a range of speakers including Mark Sutton, Care Quality Commission Chief Information Officer and Kate Thorn, project lead Digital Social Care.

The Digitising Social Care Records programme is tasked with ensuring that 80% of CQC registered adult social care providers have a digital social care record solution, from an Assured Supplier in place, by March 2024.

To book the Time to Connect – Digital Support in Your Area conference –  ‘Time to Connect’ Conference – Digital support in your area Tickets, Thu 21 Sep 2023 at 09:30 | Eventbrite