A market for digital social care record solutions

As NHSX launches a Dynamic Purchasing System for digital social care records, Peter Skinner (Assistant Director of Programmes) and Claire Hessey (Programme Manager - Market Management and Standards) outline how NHSX is working with its partners to help social care providers adopt digital records.

High quality care relies on high quality information, such as information about an individual’s likes, their care needs and the care they have received. In social care, most of that information is locked away in paper-based systems. Only 40% of care providers use a digital social care record. This means that carers and clinicians don’t have access to the information that they need at the time they need it. This places a significant administrative burden on them, taking away valuable time that could be spent delivering care.

NHSX is working with the social care sector to ensure that digital social care records are in use across all care providers by March 2024 by providing a platform for new remote care tools and transforming how care is delivered. In our last blog post, we set out our plans to achieve this, including publishing a list of assured record system suppliers, developing buyer guidance and support for care providers, and building up a clear evidence base for the benefits of digitising.

On Thursday 20 May 2021, we launched the first new supplier Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) accredited list, helping to provide assurance to social care providers that the electronic solutions they buy have met a core set of functionality requirements and standards, and will be interoperable with NHS systems. This is only the start of the journey. Over the coming weeks, we expect the number of assured suppliers to grow and in parallel we will be pushing greater interoperability with NHS systems, including Shared Care Records, to ensure that data is available when and where it is needed.

To ensure the new DPS meets the needs of social care providers, we structured the assessment around the needs of the sector. In October 2020, we began engaging with suppliers, the social care sector and the Professional Records Standards Body to understand the priorities and functionality that carers and care managers need. These were then built in as minimum requirements that all suppliers must meet. We also included a number of optional capabilities to help social care providers narrow down the systems available to those that best meet their needs. We will be continuing to work with the sector to develop purchasing guidance, helping to highlight key areas that a provider should think about to ensure that they are buying the solution that best supports them. This helps them to deliver the best possible care and offers them the best value for money.

Over the next few months, we will also start to provide more hands-on support to the sector, working through the new Integrated Care Systems.

If you are interested in being involved in our work, or are a supplier interested in applying to become an accredited supplier, email dscr.enquiries@nhsx.nhs.uk or visit the Digital Social Care website for more information.