In November, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) introduced a new assessment framework and announced that the provider information return (PIR) will be replaced by an online provider information collection (PIC) in 2018.
This, together with a new Key Line of Enquiry (KLOE) that includes a focus on how technology is used to support timely access to care and treatment, emphasises CQC’s recognition of the role that digital transformation is playing in the sector.
In light of the changes, we invited Anne Weston along to Nourish Care to discuss how care providers are using technology to enhance the quality of care they give. Anne is a former CQC inspector and now a care consultant who has been supporting care providers with compliance and quality assurance since 2008.
There seems to be more emphasis on how care providers are using technology. Do you think CQC inspections will start to favour those who are using technology effectively?
“The key focus for CQC has always been to ensure quality of care and that people are at the heart of the care service being provided. If an organisation is not using technology, does that mean it’s not as good at providing quality care? No, the changes just take into account the fact that more people are using technology.
“So, if someone is using technology in the way that it should be and it’s having a positive impact on service levels, then that’s an improvement from their perspective. And if a care provider can evidence continuous improvement, then that’s great.
“However, the changes to the assessment framework have not necessarily been put in place to promote the adoption of technology – which includes everything from electronic care planning to smart dementia technology and a range of equipment – but to ensure those services who are using it are doing so for continuous improvement to enhance the quality of care.”
From your work as a consultant, are you seeing more and more providers using technology?
“Currently I would say that around half of the care services I work with are embracing technology. It can be such a massive change for care teams that there is a lot of trepidation out there about new systems and technology. Often, they invest in a product or online service for example and are then left to work out how to use them, which is confusing. They then worry that it will have a detrimental impact on the quality of care.
“Businesses supplying technology solutions to care providers must understand that this sector is behind in terms of digitisation and they require support and guidance. This is something I feel Nourish Care does very well.”
What benefits are you seeing from care providers who are using electronic care planning systems specifically?
“The biggest difference I am seeing with providers who are doing electronic care planning as opposed to paper is how well they are able to evidence the quality care they are providing. Much more accurate information is recorded and can be accessed immediately, which is great for CQC inspections and when other healthcare professionals, such as GPs, need information on a person or service user.
“CQC want care providers to highlight and celebrate their good practice. Electronic solutions, like the one Nourish Care provides, give services a much better chance and opportunity to easily evidence the great things they are doing. It’s a really good resource to demonstrate you’re a quality service provider, but it’s only as good as the care teams using it.
“In the long-term, this could enhance the quality of care provided because care teams are more informed. For example, there are often difficulties with daily charts and fluid charts. Many services have non-compliance on effective completion of those and an electronic care plan helps care teams to manage that a lot better, which can have a very positive impact on peoples’ nutrition and hydration.”
What other technology do you think care providers should consider using?
“Personally, I think technology is great, but it is only as good as the people who use them and has to be used correctly. From my experience, change management is the biggest challenge for care providers but once they embrace technology, they usually absolutely love it.
“Whatever systems and technology care providers consider, they should always put the best interests of the people who use their service first and think about how this will benefit them and the care they receive.”
To find out more about how technology can help you highlight and celebrate the great care you provide, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 02380 002288.