Digital Care: The Time Is Now
Last month saw the launch of a new major guidance document designed to assist care home providers with their transition to digital care planning systems.
The ‘Guidance and Best Practice for Adoption of Electronic Care Management Systems’ paper was launched by not for profit community interest company, CASPA (The Care Software Providers Association), which was founded by digital care planning system providers, everyLIFE Technologies, Nourish Care and Person Centred Software in March 2019.
The White Paper summarises the experiences of over 2,500 care providers and offers guidance on what works and how to reap the benefits provided by digital care systems.
The guidance document is designed to address the nervousness among providers about adopting electronic care planning and recording. With around four in five care home providers still wedded to paper care planning, there is clearly a lot of nervousness out there!
For those yet to adopt digital technology the risks appear to be great in terms of rolling out a new system with many taking ‘if it’s not broken then why fix it?’ approach. For larger care home providers, in particular, rolling out a new care planning system can appear a daunting logistical challenge. While worries over the challenges of implementation are real, evidence proves that adoption is a relatively simple and straightforward process with the vast majority of providers able to use the technology on the day after training.
In a high-risk sector with an increasingly stringent regulatory system the risks of non-adoption surely outweigh those of doing nothing. Digital care planning systems offer numerous benefits, including reducing the risk of data loss, providing greater visibility of care plans for providers and service users, enabling providers to better demonstrate their compliance with regulation and enabling better evidence-based care decision making, not to mention freeing up carers from time consuming paperwork.
Adopting care planning systems can help providers differentiate themselves from competitors and will be increasingly demanded by service users and their families for whom digital technology is a part of their everyday life. Care staff too increasingly now take having access to digital technology for granted. Having digital care planning, therefore, can help draw in a new workforce, particularly the younger generation, which the sector so desperately needs to target. With more than 30 software suppliers on the market, moreover, there is clearly plenty of choice out there for providers to find a system that meets their needs.
With the regulator becoming increasingly vocal in its support of care planning systems and their ability to support and demonstrate good and outstanding care, the time may not be far off when having digital care planning systems becomes a mandatory requirement for all providers. Given this outlook, digital adoption sooner rather than later is a must for all care operators looking to provide a sustainable service that is fit for the 21st century.
By Andrew Mason