Once you have decided to start using digital social care records (DSCRs), you will need to find the right software solution for your organisation. There are many different options available, so it’s important to take time to consider your needs thoroughly.
Involving people in your decision
Identify who you need to involve in the decision making process.
The people you support and the staff who will use the DSCR should be central to your decision. They will help you to understand what the solution needs to do, and they’re more likely to adopt new ways of working if they have been involved at an early stage.
You may want to involve:
- staff and management teams
- the people you support and their families
- Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors, local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissioners
- the governing board
- clinical and allied health professionals you work with
- consultants you work with
- your internal quality colleagues
There may be others, depending on how your organisation is set up.
When speaking to staff and management teams, find out:
- what do they need to do in their job day-to-day
- what their frustrations and challenges are with current systems and processes
- their level of experience with using technology
- what other systems they use that the DSCR may need to interact with
When speaking to service users and family members, find out what they want to know or see about their care.
Getting advice from other organisations
You could speak to other providers in the sector who have set up DSCRs. Find out what went well, what would they have done differently. Ask what solution they chose and why they chose it.
Even if you are smaller/larger or provide a different type of care, many care providers will have similar requirements for DSCRs.
Bear in mind that if you ask DSCR suppliers for references, they may only give the names of their most satisfied customers. Ask the references in-depth questions to understand the positives and negatives of their experience.
Using the assured solutions list
The assured solutions list is a list of recommended digital social care record software solutions.
Solutions on this list have been assured by NHS England. They all:
- offer the minimum required features to meet the basic needs of social care providers, such as generating reports and seeing changes to records
- have passed basic financial and security checks
- comply with national standards and can help meet CQC regulations on good governance
NHS England will continue to develop these standards based on the needs of social care providers. Some solutions may be removed from the list if they do not continue to meet them.
If you are a public sector organisation, see buying a solution for information about how to procure a supplier from the assured list.
If you are a digital social care records supplier interested in joining the assured solutions list, contact email@example.com
Working out what you need
When choosing the right DSCR for your organisation, you need to decide what the system needs to do. Think about what’s essential and what’s optional.
All assured suppliers offer basic, required features, so it’s important to consider what additional features you might need.
Download a list of required and optional features to help you decide which features to include.
You will also need to consider whether you have the infrastructure you need to run your new solution effectively, such as a good broadband connection and WiFi, enough computers and plug sockets and access to mobiles and tablets if needed.
Writing a specification
Before deciding on which solution to use, prepare a specification which details who you are and what you are looking for.
Your specification should include:
- information about your organisation (number of staff, number of people receiving care, number of beds)
- the type of care you provide (for example, care home services or supported living services)
- the type of technology you already use, which the system may need to integrate with
- what you want the system to achieve – specify which features are essential and which are desirable
- what type of reporting you need to do (for example, direct care, management information, regulatory or contract compliance)
- your main hours of operation, when the system must not have planned maintenance
- your specific performance requirements, if you have any
- what type of training you need (for example, on-site training, video guides or written guides)
- timelines for installation – when do you need the system to be operational by?
- what resource you have in-house to manage the system installation (for example, a project manager who can spend two days a week on the project)
- the type of support you need during and after installation (for example, a 24 hour help desk, dedicated account management)
- your budget
You may also want to consider:
- the values and ways of working you are looking for from a supplier
- whether you want a free trial to try out the software
- the support you need after implementing the new solution
Your specification should form part of the final contract you agree with your supplier.