Theme 3: Communicating through technology

About this theme

Use this guidance to understand the skills and training your organisation needs to communicate using technology.

This video shows how developing these skills has helped a home care provider to better communicate with each other and with the people they support. 

1. Understand the different methods of digital communication and why they are used

There are many ways you can communicate digitally with colleagues, with people you support and their families, and with other professionals and organisations.

Examples include communication via email, messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, or sending messages through specialist apps or digital social care record (DSCR) systems. You can also communicate with others in online forums or make video and phone calls virtually, using tools such as Microsoft Teams.

Different methods of digital communication can be used for different purposes and for different audiences. It can also help to make communication more accessible, for example, through use of communication aids. See Theme 2 - Technical skills for using technology for more information.

In all situations, it is important you communicate information safely and securely, especially when sharing information about people. See Theme 4 - Using and managing data for further advice.

2. Choose the right type of communication technology for the situation and adapt my communication style as necessary

Understanding the digital communication tools on offer, and which tools are right for the situation and/or the needs of the person you are communicating with, will help you to provide quality, person-centred care.

3. Use communication technologies safely, securely, and appropriately, with respect for others and in line with my organisation’s policies

It is important that all staff can use communication technologies safely and appropriately. This may also involve helping others, for example, supporting someone you care for to set up a video call with their family. Digital communication should always be appropriate, respectful of others and in line with your organisation’s policies (including any policies regarding use of social media).

4. Use digital platforms and forums to collaborate with others

Having the ability to collaborate digitally with others to achieve a shared goal (for example, by contributing to a shared document or online workspace) can help you to learn and develop new skills, and contribute to the provision of quality care.

There are also many online forums where social care staff can collaborate to share news, tips and advice. Your Care Association may be able to recommend other local groups and forums.

5. Support others to use digital communication tools to stay connected to family, friends and their community

There are a range of technologies that can help people to keep in touch with family, friends and their community. Tips and guides are available to help you help others to stay connected using technology.

Knowledge criteria Additional information Useful resources

6. Lead in modelling and promoting good practice in digital communication

You can support your colleagues to develop their digital communication skills by modelling and promoting appropriate use of communication technology in the workplace. You can also advocate the benefits of online forums for learning and collaboration.

7. Help colleagues to understand, access and use communication technologies safely, and choose the right type of technology for the situation

There are a range of resources available to help you help your colleagues to communicate safely using technology.

8. Contribute to the development of procedures around safe and appropriate digital communication within my organisation

In line with the CQC’s key questions and quality statements, care providers are required to seek accessible ways of communicating with people they support and meet people’s information and communication needs. As digital communication methods are increasingly used in the provision of care, staff in leadership and management roles should ensure appropriate policies and procedures are in place to support good digital communication practice.

Care providers are also required to ensure communication takes place safely, with appropriate data security arrangements in place (see Theme 5 - Being Safe and Secure Online for further tips and guidance).

Knowledge criteria Additional information Useful resources