Following an initiative launched late last year, six out of 10 care homes and domiciliary care agencies in the Dorset Council area now have electronic records in place, helping to digitise their services and join up social care and the NHS.

The nationwide initiative was launched to help Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered adult social care providers replace their paper-based care planning systems with digital care records.

By supporting the digital recording of care information and care received by individuals, the information can be shared securely and in real-time, improving continuity of care, enabling better decision making and reducing the risk of errors.

In addition, for healthcare professionals digital social care records enhance efficiency and productivity. Staff are able to quickly access information, saving time which can be freed up to spend on delivering care.

Martin Ross, home director at Care South, who introduced digital care planning to its services late in 2022, said: “Operationally it has fundamentally improved the experience and oversight of care delivery for clients, stakeholders, staff, and management teams… It offers real time oversight of care delivery, alerts to signal non-compliance, reporting to monitor activity, compliance and trends and a portal for stakeholders to access care delivery records.

“Although some staff were nervous about its introduction, without exception feedback can be summed up ‘how did we manage without it’ and ‘it gives more time for our clients’.  It is also greener, more sustainable and fits better with CQC’s new single assessment framework, including remote monitoring of systems.”

The move to digital records will also help contribute to better data accuracy and security in Dorset. Care providers will also be empowered to take a data-driven approach, which will allow them to identify trends, monitor outcomes and make informed decisions using the information from the records.

Cllr Jane Somper, portfolio lead for adult social care, housing and health at Dorset Council, added: “Embracing digital social care records will enable care homes and domiciliary care agencies to harness the benefits of efficiency, communication, data security and evidence-based decision making. I hope more providers will be using electronic records soon.”

Care homes in London have gone one step further and integrated into the London Care Record, supporting the best possible care for residents. Person Centred Software piloted the connecting of care homes in the capital to the care record with OneLondon and the NHS London Region Digital Social Care Team earlier this year.