What are the benefits of digital technology for care homes and how can ICS funding help to implement it?

In this technological age, more and more of our daily living and commercial operations are being enhanced by digital management and admin software that automates routine tasks. For care managers, this frees up a lot of their time to spend with residents, liaise with medical professionals, plan enriching events, activities and oversee meal plans. In other words, provide increasingly high levels of customised, person-led care.

One barrier that may be preventing some care homes from implementing digital care software is its cost. The good news is that funding is available to help meet installation and upgrading costs through the Digital Social Care initiative from the NHS Transformation Directorate. £25 million has been pledged over three years to help eligible care organisations move away from paper-based social care records.

Funds will be distributed through local Integrated Care Systems to help care providers invest in digital software. Care Vision has been assured as a key digital social care records supplier by NHSX, and so can attract this funding for care organisations seeking to install a digital care management system.

So, now that funding is available for eligible care providers to ‘go digital,’ what are some of the advantages around moving away from more traditional management systems and filing solutions?

- What are the benefits of digital technology for care homes and how can ICS funding help to implement it?

Easier and quicker admin

Having all of the care home’s management, planning, reporting and admin systems in one place, accessible at any time, means that routine interactions and daily tasks can be completed more effectively, without taking up as much valuable time. This results in higher levels of accuracy, easier reporting and monitoring and increased job satisfaction among carers who can enjoy more time to actually look after and spend time with the residents they came into the care sector to help and support.

Use on the go

An integrated mobile app and enhanced connectivity means that users do not need to sit at one or two dedicated computers or terminals inside the care home to access the software and input their updates and reports. Digital care management systems can be downloaded onto any suitable portable device and used wherever it is most convenient to do so. Updates appear across all devices, meaning that everyone is working with the same data and can synchronise planning and reporting wherever they and their fellow staff members happen to be at the time.

Enhanced resident and patient care

Early detection of potential medical issues is key for their effective treatment and ongoing management. Having a digital means of recording symptoms, medication side effects and changes in residents’ behaviour, mood or physical condition can help build a more comprehensive picture to enable medical professionals to diagnose issues and prescribe treatments faster. No more searching for incomplete, paper-based records, or wasting time while details are sent from elsewhere. All records can be stored in one place, under the individual’s name for truly joined-up, person-led care.

Lifestyle planning

Life in a care home is not just about making sure residents’ medical needs are met. Enriching activities, such as day trips, visiting entertainers, arts and crafts, themed events and more are important to boost morale and encourage social interaction. Having access to sophisticated planning resources can make organising this type of enrichment far easier. As well as meal planning, procurement and budgeting tools, digital care management software can integrate staff rotas, annual leave, health and safety and more. Events, meals etc. can also be more closely tailored to residents’; individual tastes, as this information can also be added to the records and cross-checked at the initial planning stage to make sure the proposed activities will be popular among those they are intended for.

Reduced healthcare costs

Cutting out the need for producing, distributing and filing multiple copies of medication records, consultant reports and treatment plans will cut costs significantly. As will no longer needing to provide multiple computers, printers and workstations for staff to complete admin and auditing tasks manually.

Accurate, real-time records around medications, therapy treatments and medical recommendations can also help reduce costs associated with needing to check that written updates are correct, and making changes where they are not. Digital software allows just one single record to be made, which can then be accessed by whomever needs it via a suitable smart device. Intelligent streamlining can help protect the budget and ensure accurate and safe care management.

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