Digital Social Care Records are one of the most used technologies in Adult Social Care. As the sector continues to use more (and more!) technology every day, organisations are asking how to choose software systems and what more technology can do for them.  

Digital Social Care Records – often called electronic care planning systems – have seen increasingly rapid adoption over the last 3 years. According to NHS Transformation Directorate figures, over 60% of CQC registered adult social care providers are now using one.  

There is increasing evidence that using digital care records can improve care outcomes for people who use care and support services, that they can support staff to create more detailed notes – particularly where staff may not have felt confident with writing – and that they can create organisational efficiencies such as reducing the space required to store archival records. At Digital Care Hub, many care organisations have shared their success stories about implementing digital social care records and how it has impacted their service, staff and the people they support.  

The development of the assured solutions list has been a core driver for the increasing adoption of digital social care records. This is a list of digital social care records solutions that have been assured by NHS England as meeting minimum standards and capabilities. We often hear from care organisations that it is hard to choose between digital social care records solutions and that they don’t know where to start. The list provides reassurance that the solutions listed have been through an assurance process, that they meet national standards and that they have passed basic financial and security checks. Additionally, there is an interactive quiz which you can use to narrow down the long list of 26 solutions to a shortlist which meet your organisation’s needs. CQC has also stated that they,  

“support the programme which aims to encourage and support adult social care providers registered with us to adopt digital social care records.”  

There is funding available for care providers to help with the move from paper care records to digital social care records.  

For the more than 60% of organisations who are already using digital social care records and who are considering what they should be looking at next, there are several avenues to go down. Assured digital care records solutions have committed to a “standards roadmap”. These standards include “data migration” which makes it easier to move data from one software solution to another at the end of your contract and “GP Connect” which allows you to integrate into the GP record so you can directly see GP notes on the people you support. Standards compliance is publicly available on the assured solutions list. 

If you’re already using a digital social care record and are deciding which part of your service to digitise next, a core part of your decision-making process should focus on interoperability. Does your digital social care record work seamlessly with your rostering system, your eMAR solution or any assistive technology you might be using?  

Some software companies, like OneTouch Health, are enterprise level solutions which can support care management, planning, eMAR and scheduling. These integrated systems allow staff to access everything in one place, reducing the need to switch from one system to another. Other digital social care records solutions integrate with other companies which offer eMAR and scheduling systems rather than developing everything themselves.  

If you are thinking about what your next purchase might be and you haven’t already checked, make sure to ask your existing digital social care records supplier about what is possible. This will support you with finding an interoperable system which works best for you and your organisation. 

Katie Thorn 

Project Lead 

Digital Care Hub

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