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Digital Social Care

Care providers are increasingly using technology and digital systems to complement care, and to store and share information with colleagues across health and social care. 

Digital Social Care is a dedicated website to provide advice and support to the sector on technology and data protection. It is run by and for care providers – and several Care Provider Alliance members are involved.

Some key resources and developments in digital, data and technology-enabled care are highlighted below – but please visit Digital Social Care for more details.


Better Security, Better Care - support on data protection and cyber security

Better Security, Better Care is a national and local support programme to help adult social care providers to store and share information safely. It covers paper and digital records.

The main focus of the Better Security, Better Care programme is to help you to understand the importance of data and cyber security, and complete an annual, online self-assessment using the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).

The programme includes:

  • national support for all CQC registered and unregistered providers including: tools, resources and guidance; The Digital Social Care helpline: 0208 133 3430 or email help@digitalsocialcare.co.uk. 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday; general webinars
  • local supportto small and medium-sized care providers
  • support to large care provider groups
  • coordinationwith other programmes.

Data Protection and Security Toolkit

The Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) is a really helpful annual self-assessment for health and care organisations. It shows care providers what you need to do to keep people’s information safe, and to protect your business from the risk of a data breach or a cyber attack. It covers both paper and digital records.

When you complete the toolkit, you can publish and share information about the standard you have reached, and how you are improving your policies and practice.

By using the toolkit on an annual basis and reaching Standards Met you will be able to:

  • reassure peoplewho use services, their families and your staff that you are managing their information safely. Most people expect you to share information with others who support them – but you must do this securely and legally
  • answer the Care Quality Commission’s Key Line of Enquiry questions about how you manage data securely (see KLOE W.2.8)
  • demonstrate that you meet legal requirements including Data Protection Legislation and the Data Security Standards
  • access key servicessuch as NHS mail and shared care records.

The deadline for completing the toolkit for 2020/21 is 30 June 2021.

The Hubble Project: help on your TEC journey

The Hubble Project demystifies technology-enabled care and allows care managers and owners to follow other services full TEC journey – warts and all.

The use of technology-enabled care (TEC) has increased rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic.  However, not all care providers feel able to take advantage of technology. Many do not know where to start or how to navigate the whole process.

The Hubble Project – developed by the National Care Forum (NCF) with funding from NHS Digital’s Digital Pathfinders Programme – enables care providers to learn from others who have introduced technology.

Based on a series of virtual visits to three innovative care providers, the Hubble Project has now published a series of films, information packs, templates and guides. Senior leaders, managers, care staff and family carers share their experiences of planning, implementing and using technology.


Support to digitise social care records Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) – 20 May 2021 - NHSX and Digital Social Care

To help social care and NHS organisations make the switch to Digital Social Care Records, NHSX has launched a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), providing organisations with quicker and easier access to a list of quality-assured, accredited supplier solutions for digital social care records.

The accredited supplier list presents a marketplace where suppliers have been assured, reassuring organisations that their preferred products have met a minimum set of requirements around functionality, standards and interoperability to ensure they are compatible with both social care and NHS systems.

For more information, visit the Digital Social Care website or email dscr.enquiries@nhsx.nhs.uk.

 

Update on digital support for care providers – 18 January 2021 – LGA, DHSC, NHSX

An important part of the pandemic response has been the ability for care providers to use technology to ensure the continuation of healthcare and reduce the burden on staff. LGA, DHSC and NHSX are committed to support the sector to realise the potential gains from technology. The focus for winter has been on the delivery of the digital and technology elements contained in the DHSC Adult Social Care Winter Plan.

This letter and related annex includes a summary of the digital support available to the social care sector and how to access it.

Support includes:

  • Webinars for care providers and local authorities on digital support (recordings to follow shortly) 11,000 data enabled iPadsdelivered to care homes, plus support, advice and guidance to enable staff to use the iPads to best effect in supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.
  • Data Security Protection Toolkit for social care providers. This free, self-assessment toolkit helps care providers to show they can keep service users’ data and information safe and take reasonable steps to protect their organisation from cyber-attack. National and local support programmes are being put in place to enable care providers to use the toolkit and help secure compliance.

See also NHS blog – Connecting care providers


Proxy access to GP online services by care home staff: Guidance for care homes and GP practices – Updated January 2021 - NHSEI

New step-by-step guidance from the NHS and LGA  will help care homes, GP practices and pharmacies to give authorised care staff proxy access to the GP online record of those they care for.


Scam emails and calls re Covid – 17 December 2020 – Digital Social Care

While coronavirus has led to big changes in the way that we live and work, cyber criminals have seen this as an opportunity. In emails and on the phone, they may claim to have a 'cure' for the virus or offer financial rewards. Like many scams, these criminals are preying on real-world concerns to try and trick you into interacting. They may also mimic real NHS and government messages. Digital Social Care have heard reports from care providers that they are getting phishing emails and calls from criminals pretending to be contacting them about the Covid-19 vaccine. Digital Social Care has published a useful article on this subject. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also provided advice to help you identify phishing attacks and what to do if you are a victim of crime. 


End of Transition Period: Keeping data safe – Updated 15 January 2021 - CPA and Digital Social Care

On 31 December 2020, the UK government and the EU reached a Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The Agreement contains a bridging mechanism that allows the continued free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK after the transition period until adequacy decisions come into effect, for up to six months (i.e to end of June 2021).  In practice, the Government does not envisage the bridging arrangements to be in place for more than four months.

EU adequacy decisions for the UK would allow for the ongoing free flow of data from the EEA to the UK.

As a sensible precaution, during the bridging mechanism, it is recommended that organisations work with EU/EEA organisations who transfer personal data to them to put in place alternative transfer mechanisms to safeguard against any interruption to the free flow of EU to UK personal data.

If the European Commission grants an adequacy decision, then no action will need to be taken by social care providers. However, this briefing will help you with contingency planning and with what to do if an adequacy decision is not reached after the six month bridging period (to end of June 2021).


Ransomware Attacks: what they are and how to combat them – 3 November 2020 – Digital Social Care

Switching to more online and digital working in response to Covid-19 has led to greater risks of cybercrime. The City of London police revealed that it saw an increase of almost 72% in reported cybercrime in the first month of lockdown alone. To help care providers, Digital Social Care is focussing this month on sharing more information on cyber security and what to do to minimise risks.


Technology and the Winter Plan – 24 September 2020 – Digital Social Care

In the winter plan, all care providers are asked to:

  • consider how technical or digital solutions may help to protect the people they support from COVID-19 and connect them to their loved ones
  • engage with the NHSX DSPT support offer and register with DSPT by 30 September 2020
  • alert the NHSX Information Governance team on IGpolicyteam@nhs.net if you need any advice.


Digital Social Care

Digital Social Care is a dedicated space to provide advice and support to the sector on technology and data protection.

Key themes include:

  • Use of digital technology during coronavirus pandemic
  • The benefits of digital in social care
  • Protecting my information
  • Sharing care records via email
  • Measuring digital readiness
  • Choosing software and equipment

For details visit https://www.digitalsocialcare.co.uk

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Coronavirus Digital Social Care helpline

If care providers would like to speak to a member of the Digital Social Care Team about the use of technology during Covid-19 they can contact the team at:

Telephone: 0208 133 3430 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

Email: help@digitalsocialcare.co.uk