Unlocking the benefits of digital in adult social care

The Clock is Ticking - funding campaign

More than 5,000 care providers in England have made the switch from paper to digital care records since our programme launched, with thousands more in the process of doing so.

If you’re a provider that hasn’t yet taken the plunge, make sure you take advantage of government funding and our local support offer this year, while it’s still available.

Two years into our programme of digital transformation we’re hearing some really insightful stories from providers who tell us that adopting digital social care records (DSCRs) has had a really positive impact on how they manage and deliver care. And through our work to measure and quantify the benefits of this transition to digital we are now capturing the data to prove it.

Most providers are persuaded to digitise by the significant amount of time their staff save in administrative tasks every shift, in some cases up to an hour. But we’re also hearing that audits are much faster, which as a result can be done more frequently, and that managers are seeing the greatest time savings overall. I’ve also heard some brilliant examples of how voice to text functionality in DSCRs is helping care staff who struggle with writing feel more confident in their work, in one case going on to become the digital champion for their organisation. One of our recent updates highlighted how DSCRs can support neurodiverse staff by helping them to capture information on the go. 

Managers have also told us that care plans are more complete as the DSCR will highlight missing information, alerting them to issues in real time, meaning they can respond immediately.

The core functionality of a DSCR can transform the way a provider operates, but there’s a lot more features that can be switched on over time. Soon, all of our assured digital social care record suppliers will be required to integrate with GP Connect, which gives care staff 24-hour access to vital health information for the people in their care, such as medications or allergies. So far four suppliers offer this service, with more than 1,500 providers using it. One provider I met recently described it as ‘game-changing’ for them, drastically reducing the amount of time spent on the phone to GPs and hospitals trying to track down information. 

Most of our assured solutions also offer family portal access. For families that can’t visit regularly this provides much wanted reassurance, and can support greater collaboration in care planning, with relatives feeling more involved in inputting to the elements of care plans that can support truly person-centred care. 

The Care Quality Commission is very supportive of our work and have issued guidance on digital care records to support providers.  They’ve stated that it will become increasingly difficult to obtain a good or outstanding rating without adopting a digital social care record solution. 

There’s £25 million allocated this financial year to support providers on their digital journey and there’s a digital lead in every integrated care partnership across England who can help you access funding and guide you through the process. You can find the ICS details here or drop us an email at england.dscr.enquiries@nhs.net.

The clock is ticking for providers to access funding. Our three year programme of support, which was stood up in 2022 following the publication of People at the Heart of Care, will come to an end in 2025.

Our short animation gives some more insights into the kinds of benefits DSCRs can offer you