Co-founder and director of Person Centred Software, Jonathan Papworth, discusses how health and care integration is driving digital adoption.
For too long, health and social care have coexisted, but not cohabited, at least not in an information sense. This is changing. The NHS has a programme to encourage social care records to be digitised with a commitment for all adult social care providers in England to achieve this by March 2024.
The NHSX has launched a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to assist in achieving this goal, and already CCGs are picking up on the need for them to be encouraging care providers in their region to go digital.
The benefits to care providers have been communicated many times in this column, but there are benefits to health care as well, and this is the reason for the support from the NHS.
Social care has been less then ideally understood within health circles, and COVID has exemplified this situation with mortality in care homes not being recognised at ministerial levels soon enough.
The Capacity Tracker has been imposed as a quick fix, but this is onerous on care providers, forcing them to do a job with little or no benefit to themselves.
The solution for everyone is to have digital care systems that work for social care providers, and also pass the necessary information automatically for collation by health professionals. This ideal seemed like a dream only a year ago – it is now not only feasible but is rapidly becoming a reality.
There will be some interesting challenges as well, as digital systems enable analysis to be done much faster so the regulator may create new reporting requirements.
Whilst some might wish to keep to paper so they can avoid sharing information – the demand for sharing of information is going to mean that in the not too distant future paper-based systems are simply not fit for purpose. The move to digital systems is a shift to a better place for care providers, but those that don’t have the desire to make the move are soon going to start feeling pressure from funding bodies and regulators to change.