iCareHealth and the National Care Forum recently collaborated to bring together delegates from various organisations within the care industry to discuss the digitisation of their operations.

It was a common theme with those in attendance that the future of the care industry lies with the digitisation of their organisations to streamline processes. Technology has been seen to improve transparency and compliance across care homes; however, we must ask ourselves if we are digitising to ensure compliance or the improve the quality of our residents lives? The nature of technology means that the sky is the limit, however we appreciate there are various barriers to each individual organisation.

Carl Drinkwater, our Strategic Services Director led the mornings session. He discussed the importance of ensuring organisations are digitising the correct processes. In an ideal world it would be great to see all aspects of care organisations being digital, however this level of change happens over a long period of time. Furthermore, we need to ensure we are prioritising our efforts on areas which will benefit the day-to-day operations of the organisation first. Trying to digitise too much at once is a common mistake seen across many sectors, it is paramount to ensure every step moving forward is adding value to your organisation.

Another key point that Carl raised was to ensure that the digital journey of an organisation has an allocated ‘owner’. Although it may seem counter intuitive at first, its recommended that this person is not an IT expert. The reason for this being that they may become too focussed on the technological details of each solution rather than the way it will improve efficiencies. Carl recommended that an Operations Director or someone with more of an in-depth knowledge of the daily running of a business is responsible for this. By  keeping the core focus on streamlining operations you should see a reduced risk of the project failing.

Vic Rayner, the Executive Director for the National Care Forum was also contributing to the days discussions. She emphasised how the care industry is heavily led by its regulators in comparison to other sectors. The Care Quality Commission are seemingly mounting more pressure on care organisations to use a form of digital care records to provide an auditable trail of the provision of care. Although it is not yet a requirement, many care organisations are being proactive in the uptake of technology in anticipation for changes introduced by the CQC. With this being said, currently around 3-4% of care organisations are using a digital care record meaning there is still a huge proportion of the care industry running on solely paper based systems.

Vic outlines the importance of information governance, which is seeing much more traction with the approaching GDPR deadline. However, Vic emphasises that information governance stretches further than just GDPR. Care Homes need to ensure they are keeping up to date with changes to information governance as it being closely monitored by regulators.

The CQC’s latest KLOE framework incorporates information governance. For example, you should be asking yourself if your home is incorporating technology that enhances the delivery of effective care? Is it providing greater transparency across your care organisation? Are your current information sharing procedures enhancing the management of your care organisation? Read more on the KLOE framework here.

If you would like to discuss the digitisation of your care organisation we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch on 01440 766 400 or drop us an email to [email protected]