Mark Topps’ Social Care Column: Digitisation in Care 🖥
I wanted to start by thanking you for your feedback on my first column. It is amazing to read so many of you can relate to what I am writing about!
COVID-19 has been tough on the care industry, but one positive from the pandemic is that it has pushed the sector into going digital a lot quicker than we probably would have done. I wanted to use this column to talk about the digitisation of care planning in the social care sector.
Electronic versus paper care plans
I am a huge fan of electronic care planning. I have seen first-hand how they can improve the lives of the people we support and how much time it saves staff writing reports and notes. Care management systems like Log my Care give us more time to doing what we all love to do which is delivering hands-on care. ❤️
I know there will be many of you reading this, working in a care organisation that is still using paper and pen. I want to reassure you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! If that works for your service and meets the needs of the individuals you support then this is great.
Making sure the software is right for your service 🧐
I am also aware there will be some of you reading this currently exploring different systems and trying to figure out the best one for your needs. There are so many out there that it can become a bit of a minefield. 💣
I personally wish that there was guidance and regulation from the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, or even just a recommended list of systems for providers and managers to look at as a starting point. I think in a sector where we are so regulated there is a massive gap in this part of the care industry. However, if you are currently meeting with tech companies, my top three questions to ask would be:
- Does your system integrate with other tech systems such as rostering, eMAR etc and what are the plans for the business for the future in terms of integration now that we are seeing a huge shift to technology?
- How user-friendly is your system and can we have a demo or be able to play around with the system for half a day or a day to see how positive the user experience is?
- What will be the cost to the business vs the benefit it can bring to your organisation, the people you support and their relatives? (Many of the systems have portals which allow for relatives to be able to see the care notes, the latest care plans, share photos and so much more!)
The benefits of electronic care planning
From experience of using electronic care planning vs paper and pen, I would recommend electronic care planning every time, both for the domiciliary care sector and for care homes. 📱 There are many pro’s for going digital, the main one being that it really does allow a care worker to spend the time caring for the people they support rather than filling in care notes and forms. Some other benefits of going digital include:
- Office staff and management have access to real-time data on what is happening within their services and making sure the needs of the people being cared for are being met and actioning where this is not happening.
- It allows for a more effective and efficient way of communicating and reduces the time spent on handing over information.
- Care workers can read notes and care plans prior to supporting someone which gives them a better insight into the care required, changes in health needs and provides a consistency in care.
- They give you some amazing analytic and reporting tools which are perfect to help build, grow and monitor your service such as the amount of time people are being cared for, real-time information on when a care worker starts and clocks in and clocks out of a person’s home, real-time care notes and monitoring, alerts on when reviews, supervisions, training etc are due and all this ensures that you can provide some amazing evidence during inspections and ensure you are compliant.
Do what’s right for you 👍
I still often see many managers asking for recommendations of electronic care planning systems and seeing the feedback from others about the pros and cons of the systems they use. One thing this has taught me is that you really need to do your own research and find the best company that best suits you, the people you support and the service where you work.