Support for digital social care records

Peter Skinner, Assistant Director of Programmes, and Natalie James, Programme Manager, outline the importance of supporting care providers to implement digital social care records and the work they are undertaking at NHSX to create a vibrant and innovative market.

The recent Busting Bureaucracy report outlined the ambition for all social care providers to have access to a digital social care record that can interoperate with a local Shared Care Record by 2024. These records will play an important role in joining up care across social care and the NHS, freeing up time spent by care workers and managers on administrative tasks whilst equipping them with the information they need to deliver care. Commissioners and regulators will also gain access to real time data they can use to ensure the provision of high quality care.  

Supporting a vibrant and innovative market

Traditionally the adoption of digital innovation has been slower in the social care sector than the health sector. Social care providers have also requested help to navigate the marketplace and identify digital solutions that best meet their needs.

In response we are working on a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS). Due to launch in April 2021, this will give social care providers access to a list of supplier solutions assured as fully compliant with the relevant interoperability, data and cyber security standards. We will also provide buyers guidance, developed with the sector, to help social care providers to identify the best value solution that is right for them. 

Realising the value of digital care records

We are working closely with the sector and software suppliers to iteratively develop an independent and robust evidence base. Setting out the benefits of digital social care records, this will help providers to value the impact these solutions can have on the daily lives of people receiving care, care workers and care managers. 

There is a huge appetite across the social care sector to engage with digital transformation.  The adoption of a digital social care record will support social care providers to capture real-time information, view relevant information from the NHS record and enable more effective quality management. But this is only the start of the journey. 

The universal adoption of digital social care record solutions, across the social care sector, has the potential to transform care outcomes. It’s the platform on which other remote care tools can integrate. It’s a new source of data for shared care records, to enable more sophisticated population health management and a greater personalisation of care planning that focuses on the individual. 

Over the coming months we will continue to work closely with the social care sector, software suppliers and our partner organisations, including the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Local Government Association (LGA).  If you would like to be involved in helping to shape our programme, or if you just want to learn more about the work that we are doing, then please reach out to us at dscr.enquiries@nhsx.nhs.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.