The Government is to introduce new powers that will require all adult social care providers to provide information to help build a ‘better picture of the delivery of services.’
No further details are given to what this information should include, but any implementation is subject to ‘parliamentary processes’ as outlined in the government’s strategy ‘Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data’.
The strategy, which applies to England only, sets out the government’s vision on how data will be used to improve the health and care of the population in a safe, trusted and transparent way.
It highlights a clear goal that the public should be able to access care and support in the place that is most appropriate for them, whether in their own home or in another type of care setting. We outline some of the timetable for action below.
Improving access to information for adult social care providers
The document notes that very few adult social care providers have online access to information about the individuals in their care. Only 45% of social care providers use a digital social care record, and research published in December 2021 showed that 23% of care home staff could not access the internet consistently at work.
It states that care providers who are not fully digitised will not be able to realise the benefits of digital services for the public they support.
The government said it will work with the sector to help providers, including those at the beginning of their digital journey, to improve their internet connections and access to devices.
The Government has committed to:
- Develop an easily accessible data-sharing solution with local authorities and providers over the next 3 years that supports real-time decision making at local, regional and national levels, building on the learning from the pandemic, and seek to ensure different actors in the system have access to the same rich data sets – from June 2022
- Develop, in collaboration with Skills for Care, a digital skills framework that will support the improvement of the digital capabilities of everyone working in the adult social care sector (phase one completed March 2022), supported by the delivery of an inclusive approach to training opportunities to improve the data and digital literacy of the adult social care workforce – commenced from April 2022
Integration of health and social care data
To ensure better integration of health and social care, it wants to make sure that data is only collected once and flows better across health and social care so that services can meet the needs of users without multiple conversations.
- Ensure that at least 80% of social care providers have a digitised care record in place that can be connected to a shared care record, and it will reinforce the use of the NHS number universally across adult social care to support this – by March 2024
- Introduce a power to require information from all adult social care providers (both public and private) so it can build a better picture of the delivery of adult social care services across England – delivery date subject to Parliamentary processes
- Establish a data framework for adult social care setting out what data the sector needs to collect, the purpose of those collections and the standard to which it is collected. It will engage with the sector, including local authorities and providers, to develop the framework, which will set out how it will improve the quality of data and rationalise collections to minimise the collection burden. It will:
- Share the proposed approach with the Data Alliance Partnership – by June 2022
- Work with the sector on its detailed design – from July to November 2022
- Publish the framework – by December 2022
- Continue to promote NHSmail – or other appropriate services that meet the government’s secure email policy requirements – to all providers to enable secure information sharing, and will work with the sector to identify a long-term and sustainable approach – by March 2023
- Publish a standards and capabilities roadmap for digital social care record solutions(completed May 2022), which assured suppliers providing digital social care records are required to comply with. Its development will be co-designed with the adult social care sector and will include data and reporting standards that will allow providers and commissioners across the NHS and adult social care sector to access information. This will begin by developing a process to consolidate existing social care terminology standards – by March 2023
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