CQC investigates effectiveness of digital care planning systems

CQC investigates effectiveness of digital care planning systems

Has the tipping point finally arrived for digital care planning systems? The stats don’t lie – care homes using digital care planning systems gain more Outstandings for supporting person-centered care than those services still using paper-based care plans. The latest figures show 5% of care homes with digital care planning gain Outstanding more than double the overall national rate of 2%.

In its updated key lines of enquiry (KLOE), the CQC for the first time asks how technology is used to improve the delivery of care in the Effective category. In another new clause in the Responsive category, the CQC asks how technology is used so that people receive timely care and support. Finally, in Well-Led, the CQC now asks whether technology systems are used effectively to monitor and improve the quality of care.

The importance of new technology is also particularly stressed in the CQC’s guidance for those aiming to gain Outstanding. In its rating characteristics for Effective, the CQC describes the requirement for new evidence-based techniques and technologies to support the delivery of high-quality care and support. And in the Responsive KLOE, the CQC says it is looking for innovative ways of involving people and their families in their care plans in Outstanding services. Meanwhile, the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) this year has further enforced the need for providers to store data in a secure and efficient manner.

While the compliance case is clear for the adoption of digital care planning systems, the practical evidence is equally compelling. Evidence shows by freeing up time spent on completing paper care plans, digital care plans enable carers to spend more time with residents.

Given the compelling case for digital care planning, the evidence suggests that the message is finally getting across to the industry. Until now, the more nimble smaller and medium-sized care providers have taken a lead in adopting innovative new technologies such as care planning systems. The larger and more bureaucratic providers have been a little slower to respond. But even here, in the conversations we have had with the leaders of the largest providers over the past year, they invariably have initiated trials, or have clear plans to introduce digital care planning.

While the care home sector may not be winning any awards for leading the way in the adoption of new technology, it is clear that the ship is finally turning in the right direction and that is something to celebrate with everyone – care providers, care staff, residents and their families alike – set to reap the rewards.

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