Digital power to the people who care

Person's hand typing

Based on an original blog by Mark Sutton, Chief Digital and Data Officer at the Care Quality Commission and Peter Skinner, Programme Director for Digitising Social Care (DiSC) at NHS England

First published by the Department of Health and Social Care - Digitisation is the power to improve care - Social care (

High-quality care planning is at the heart of delivering safer, more personalised care. Moving away from paper-based records and adopting digital solutions, including Digital Social Care Records (DSCR), makes it easier for care providers to manage care and respond to people’s needs more rapidly.

DSCRs provide a platform for sharing information such as discharge notes, changes in medication and reporting to regulators. They also make the lives of care staff easier, and allow them to spend more time looking after the people in their care, by reducing the time spent recording and recovering information and records. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recognises the power of digitisation in achieving good outcomes for people who draw on care. In guidance published last year, it laid out the fundamental role of good records in underpinning safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care. 

The CQC’s new single assessment framework, launched last year, demonstrates the growing emphasis on managing good quality care record systems, which are key to delivering truly personalised care. A Digital Social Care Record means vital information to support effective care is available wherever and whenever it’s needed. Care professionals and managers can keep track of tasks, care plans can be reviewed more quickly and time spent on handover is reduced. 

Colleagues are saving an average of 20 minutes per shift in writing up handover notes where organisations are using DSCRs and an average of 45 minutes is saved by managers reviewing care plans. 

It’s not just a shift from paper to iPads. DSCRs offer much more, such as converting voice notes into text, capturing images and third-party information, and making care records available on a range of authorised devices. Authorised staff can even access up to date GP record information. 

Delivering personalised care relies on good communication and collaboration between providers, local authorities and integrated care systems (ICSs). DSCRs will allow information to move seamlessly between health and social care systems, supporting care professionals to work together more effectively to design and deliver care designed specifically for that person. 

The CQC have advised that it will become increasingly difficult for providers to maintain an outstanding or good rating without having an effective and safe digital social care record solution in place. This is a clear demonstration of the power and potential of digital care planning to deliver better outcomes for people compared to the limited functionality of paper-based records. 

What support is available to providers looking to go digital?

CQC encourages  providers to take advantage of the support and funding that’s on offer through the Digitising Social Care programme. Local support is available, administered by integrated care systems (ICSs), to help providers digitise. This includes some match funding to implement a DSCR from a list of assured solutions. The suppliers of these assured solutions are committed to meeting all the relevant standards to support information sharing across the health and social care sector.

You can find information on the funding available together with details of the digital lead for your ICS on our website,