Electronic Care Planning: Change doesn’t need to be feared.

Moving away from what we know and stepping into the unknown can be a daunting experience. For both businesses and individuals, change isn’t easy and is often something we fear given it isn’t something that comes naturally; but should it be or should we actually fear just standing still? In the words of Susan Jeffers sometimes we just need to ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.

This notion of change and not being fearful of it is something that our founder and CEO, Nuno Almeida, touched upon at this year’s Care Show. Representing the ‘Care Software Providers Association’ (CASPA), Nuno addressed the issue of change in relation to the use of digital technology within the care sector.

Although more and more care services are adopting the use of digital technology, there is still an enigma that surrounds the evolution of it within the care sector. It’s hard to believe that in the UK, over 75% of care providers still use a pen and paper for planning and record keeping, rather than using electronic care planning systems. Whilst the care sector has evolved over the years, changes have been slow. There are still a lot of fears associated with digitalisation and its perceived risks. Key concerns revolve around:

  • The scope of risk involved
  • Data loss and data breach
  • Device security
  • Carers ability to use new technology

All valid and understandable reasons as to why care providers are cautious of changing to a digital way of working. However, as Nuno raised the point, could paper present a bigger risk?

Records can be lost; information can be hard to find, and it can be hard to provide carers with context in terms of what is needed for those they are supporting. In the main paper records are seen more as a statutory obligation. A log of evidence to show standards of care to the likes of CQC and local authorities. The data isn’t being used in a way that can help us to improve and enhance care, something that digital technology can help overcome.

The Benefits of Digital Care Management…

When records are input into a digital system, they become so much more than just evidence for inspection. They open up a whole new world of possibilities that simply wouldn’t be possible with stacks of paper. For example using an electronic care planning system to record digital records enables:

  • Staff to spend less time doing paperwork and more time providing face to face care with those they support
  • Teams to carry out internal audits quickly, allowing processes to become more efficient
  • Better co-ordination of care around individuals’ personal needs, enabling care teams to provide a more tailored form of care
  • Care teams to provide safer and more transparent care as having digital records makes it harder to miss aspects of a person’s care.
  • Care providers to save time and money
  • Teams to make more timely decisions which are based on real-time information

Overcoming the fear of digital…

Clearly digital technology such as electronic care planning can provide care providers with a range of benefits, but how can the fear of change be overcome?  Like with most things, when you are armed with the right information and the right guidance, change becomes less like something that should be feared and more like something that is manageable and exciting.

In Nuno’s words ‘with the right co-ordination, the right strategy and the right partners, we can get the right digital use in social care’ and this is one of the key aims of CASPA. To help promote and continue to grow the use of digital technologies in the social care sector to improve the quality of care delivered.

Getting Digital Care Management Right…

To ensure a smooth transition, there are a number of actions care providers can put into place to help when moving to electronic care planning. CASPA suggest the following guidance on how to source and implement digital transformation software.

  1. Define what you want – it is important for you to know what it is that you want to get from digital software. Are you looking to save time when it comes to admin, do you want a better way of reporting and evidencing care?
  2. Identify providers – Task a team with creating a list of potential suppliers based on identified business needs and the criteria that needs to be met by them.
  3. Complete Due Diligence – For each of the providers you have identified carry out due diligence. Meet the suppliers and involve key stakeholders e.g. registered managers, nurses and care workers in the process.
  4. Make a Shortlist – Shortlist suppliers based on feedback from your team and ask for proposals. Check how they fare against your criteria.
  5. Choose Supplier – Invite the top supplier to negotiate and agree timescales for roll-out.

Implementation of Digital Care Management…

So you’ve chosen the provider you want to use, but what next? Well you will need to consider how you will implement the new digital system. CASPA suggest following a three-step process for implementation:

  1. Prepare

Ensure you communicate with families and care teams in a way that is reassuring and clear about the reasons for adopting digital. Try to build excitement and show that this change is positive and something that they don’t need to be nervous about.

  1. Train

Agree whether your chosen supplier will train all your staff or just your internal training team who will then deliver the training to the remaining members of your staff. Once this has been agreed deliver your training accordingly. Give your team reassurance that they can tackle and deal with the change and help them to feel in control by showing them that there are clear plans in place for training and roll-out.

  1. Roll-out

Agree how devices are prepared and deployed. Tell staff where they need to be and when. Ensure you know how user accounts are created and how records are created for the people you support.

What to Look for in a Provider…

Good providers will be able to provide you with all the information you and your team need to ensure you are comfortable and ready for the transition to digital. From giving you clear guidance about GDPR responsibilities to how to manage devices and lock them down should they go missing. When looking for a provider CASPA recommends asking the following questions to help you find out whether they would be a good fit for you:

  • Does the company have a good reputation?
  • Are the values of the company similar to yours and your care service?
  • Is the company a good fit for you? Do their values resonate with yours?
  • Does the company have any case studies available of similar care services to yours that are using their product?
  • How long has the company been trading?
  • Does the company have a business continuity plan in place?
  • What is the company’s track record with CQC?

About the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA)…          

CASPA has been established in the UK as an independent, not for profit, member-driven association. The association is currently led by a volunteer group of founding board members, each of whom manages a well-established software company that provides solutions for social care providers

CASPA Mission…

  • Aims to promote improvements in the digital information flow across social care to provide openness and transparency of care being provided
  • Lobbying parties outside social care to improve the digital information flow between social care and others, in particular the NHS
  • Creating standards for electronic information transfer

Find out more about whether using an electronic care planning could help you and those you support here.