TECH TALK: Is constant change a good thing?

Jonathan Papworth

Person Centred Software Founder and Co-Director Jonathan Papworth asks if constant change is a good thing for the sector

CQC have just changed many of their Key Lines Of Enquiry (KLOE). The Data Protection Act is changing to the General Data Protection Regulation next year. CRB changed to DBS a couple of years ago. Technology is changing constantly. How can normal people keep up?

I know of good teachers who left the profession because no sooner had they understood the latest Government changes to how education is measured, than another set of changes came along. CQC, to be fair, are not as bad as this, this is the first change to the KLOEs since they were published in 2015, but the rate of change can seem quite daunting. The question is, does change help, or is it getting in the way of doing the job?

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I know that some people embrace change, they look forward to Apple launching their new products each autumn. Personally, once I have something that does the job I want it to do, I would just as soon not have to re-learn how to use it – but, and this is the crux of the issue, what about the new features that I don’t know about that are useful to me. If I don’t at least look at the options change provides then I am effectively stuck in a time warp, and I feel that this is something the care sector tends to do.

Take the new CQC KLOEs – their changes can be summarised as:

  1. Better training for staff, and an end to discrimination
  2. Working with other providers, the local community and volunteers
  3. Keeping track of medication correctly
  4. Transparency of information, but controlled access to ensure protection for individuals
  5. Providing more engaging activities for service users

These all look totally laudable. Much has been said about how nursing homes can be used to reduce bed blocking in hospitals, and there are many instances of expensive medication simply being thrown away when a person goes into hospital, despite it still being needed.

The problem for care providers who are short of time and financially stretched is how to even look at new ideas, and it is always easier to put off what is difficult. However, the opportunity to do nothing is becoming more difficult.

The head of CQC has made it very clear that technology and innovation are necessary features of outstanding care, and this will percolate through to inspectors eventually. But why wait for the inspection? Technology has been proven to provide benefits in almost every aspect of care. Carers have more time to provide person centred care if they are not weighed down by paper based systems. There is confidence that people are being looked after every hour of the day and night when care records are transparent, and then sharing the records becomes a simple next step. The need to change is here, the only question is how soon people will make the change, and how many missed opportunities to improve the quality of care there will be before change is embraced.

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