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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 provides 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.

Key themes include:

  • Data protection and cyber security
  • The benefits of digital technology in social care
  • Sharing care records via email
  • Measuring digital readiness
  • Choosing software and equipment
  • Digital skills and training

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

For regular updates and tips sign up to Digital Social Care newsletter

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

Cyber security alerts§

Digital Social Care issues regular alerts and updates on cyber security alerts for social care providers. Recent alerts include:

Russia/Ukraine cyber security – February 2022

Log4j2: Critical cyber vulnerability alert – December 2021

To keep up to date with alerts, sign up for Digital Social Care’s newsletter and follow them on Twitter @DigiSocialCare.

Digital Social Care Webinars§

Digital Social Care runs free webinars for care providers on key digital and data developments. Find out more and book a place at Digital Social Care webinars.

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 support to small and medium-sized care providers
  • coordination with 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 people who 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 Legislationand the Data Security Standards
  • access key services such as NHS mail and proxy access to NHS records.

The Hubble Project: help on your TEC journey§

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.

Digital Social Care Records§

Digital Social Care Records (DSCR) allow the digital recording of care information and care received by an individual, within a social care setting, replacing traditional paper records. DSCRs are person-centred and enable information to be shared securely and in real-time with authorised individuals within the organisation, with a person’s circle of care and with specified individuals involved in the care and support of the person.

The NHS Transformation Directorate’s Digitising Social Care Records Programme is aiming for 80% of CQC-registered adult social care providers to have access to a digital social care record that can interoperate with a local Shared Care Record by March 2024. To support this, they have launched a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to support adult social care providers in England to buy from a curated list of digital social care record solutions.

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

Proxy access to GP online services by care home staff: Guidance for care homes and GP practices NHSEI§

Step-by-step guidance from the NHS and LGA to help care homes, GP practices and pharmacies to give authorised care staff proxy access to the GP online record of those they care for. Care providers must have reached Standards Met on the Data Security and Protection Toolkit before getting proxy access.

Five principles for digital transformation and interoperability in Social Care§

Digital Social Care and the Care Software Providers Association have worked together to develop a set of principles for digital transformation in social care. This “northstar” for digital transformation prioritises adopting technology which has a positive impact for staff and people receiving care and support.

The principles state that Digital Systems being rolled out to Social Care Providers and their interoperability must be:

  • Focussed on each person receiving care
  • Intuitively integrated in the operational workflow
  • A time saver and not lead to duplication of effort
  • Able to share information and report appropriately
  • Inclusive of social care providers and people receiving care in decision-making processes

Find out more and download the principles.