Towards the end of last year, we wrote about integrated care systems (ICS)and how they are designed to plan and deliver cohesive, person-led healthcare to those who need it. ICSs were established on a statutory basis in July 2022 and are headed by a committee of NHS care board representatives and local authority personnel.
One key part of their remit is to release funding to organisations to help pay for essential resources to help them switch over from paper-based operational care records to a digital care management system. In mid 2021, it was announced that more than £6.9 billion has been allocated to help drive integration between health and social care (SOURCE) This was, in part, aimed at supporting local recovery after the pandemic, rolling out prevention and detection technologies to support people at risk of falling and helping people continue to live as independently and healthily as possible.
However, the money is also intended to help encourage more care organisations to move to a digital way of organising their admin and operational tasks in line with stated NHS objectives. Many care homes and organisations have already taken advantage of digital transformation funding and are enjoying the many benefits of making the switch. Some of these advantages include streamlining admin work; putting all key data in one place and providing remote, 24/7 access to main care management functions and reports for real-time updating and sharing information.
As with any major purchase, choosing which digital care management system to opt for is not always an easy decision. There are many factors to take into account, from budget to scalability and scope of the chosen system. Choosing a system is particularly difficult when you are switching from paper-based records to a digital set-up. While you can learn about the different functions a system offers, it is impossible to know exactly how well they will fit into your care home in practice.
What to look for in a care management system
A great thing about digital care management systems is their versatility and flexibility to fit with almost any kind of business model. They also provide everything a busy care home manager might need in one place. From HR and payroll to staff rotas and scheduling; nurse call functions, eMAR and weight loss monitoring and event planning, procurement and visitor management.
However, it is all too easy to look no further than how many features there are and simply go with what has the biggest selection. Other key elements of choosing a digital cate management system include connectivity, remote access, ease of use, scalability, data security, back-up abilities and after-sales customer support are just as essential. It can be disappointing and disruptive if any of these things are found to be lacking.
The good news in this situation is that if you find yourself needing to switch digital care management systems, ICS funding may still be available. Depending on where you are based, funding is not just reserved for purchasing an initial system. Its aim, after all, is to help care organisations streamline operations and support better care for residents and patients. Not to mention encourage better integration across all parties involved in providing health and social care. So, if you are not satisfied with your system, don’t feel that you have to quietly put up with it – go out and see what else is available that might suit your individual care home’s needs more closely.
What to do if you want to switch systems
If your care home is CQC registered, you will be able to apply for funding through the ICS funding scheme. To find your regional contact, a good place to start is the Digital Social Care website, available at here. This website also carries details of other funding avenues for businesses seeking to introduce, upgrade or switch a digital care management system. Finally, for more information, please speak to one of our funding experts here at Care Vision for help and advice. We welcome any feedback about the scope of services and features that we offer and are happy to help you get the most out of our system, providing customer support and training as required.