Carer using an iPad with a patient

Framework driving digital transformation in social care

The Department for Health and Social Care has announced guidance that will support social care staff, providers, and local authorities as they look to benefit from new technology.

The’ What Good Looks Like’ guidance will allow employers in social care to equip their staff with the skills that are required to get the benefits of new technologies, with the potential to enhance patient care and give workers improved career development opportunities. Local authorities have also been issued guidance so that a standard can be set for care and support settings during the switch to newer digital technology.

Those who work in adult social care will benefit from a clear structure to allow the development of new skills through the digital skills framework, ensuring that innovative technology is being put to effective use to enhance care. This could include the use of systems allowing for a care professional to access a resident’s information from GP records through a digital social care record, allowing them to support care from hospital to home.

Virtual care centres will also be introduced, with staff given training on how to use the technology. These care centres ensure that people who require care can access a care worker virtually 24/7. Those who need care can get more autonomy and independence in their own homes, thanks to the elimination of a need of recurring or overnight checks.

Helen Whately, Minister for Care, said:

“Technology embedded into care and support can be transformative both for people who need care and staff in the sector.

“Innovative technology in care settings improves care and can increase the time that care workers spend with the people they care for.

“The guidance and standards published today will give social care staff the support they need to improve their digital capabilities.”

Using and managing data, how to use technology for person-centred care, plus supporting a culture of good practice in technology for personalised care are just three of the seven key themes that guidance will be based around.

Individuals or groups who are responsible for the delivery of digital transformation in communities has been provided to care providers and local authorities, with such roles including digital leads, directors of adult social services, commissioners, and service managers.

The guidance has been produced with the support of the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, with the framework encouraging smart foundations and safe practice of technology in care settings.

System Chief Information Officer for NHS England, Sonia Patel, said:

“This new guidance is a significant step in ensuring our digital ‘north star’ is clear in all health and care settings, helping reduce health inequalities in every community in England. We’ve worked closely with social care colleagues to provide the ‘What Good Looks Like’ guidance for adult social care, building on the framework we’ve already published for integrated care systems and providers which we’ll be updating later this year.”

Councillor David Fothergill, Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“This guidance is designed to support local authorities and care providers of all sizes and types to modernise and improve the way they deliver care, such as expanded social care record systems in their areas. It will help support staff and put in place a better system that frees up more time for care.

“Digitising social care is one of the key components off the Partners in Care and Health programme, delivered in partnership by the LGA and ADASS. It aims to help councils to improve the way they deliver adult social care, through developing and sharing best practice, providing support, and building connections.”

This plan is part of the government’s ‘Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care’ plan, which was recently published and looks to reform social care and improve the lives of the ten million people who require, work in, or provide care and support.

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