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29th June 2017

Video Killed the Radio Star

The benefits and pitfalls of CQC's proposed approach to collecting information from providers.

Earworms from the past

The late 1970’s song by The Buggles, ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’, suggests a past forgotten as new technology takes its place. I have an earworm currently which makes me hum, la and tap the tune, reducing and speeding up the song and at the odd time seeing what it would sound like in opera or jazzed up.

My son studies his mother’s strange and very annoying current pastime. “What’s a VCR?” He asks. A video recorder I answered… forgetting the ‘cassette’. “What’s a video recorder?”  He asked. I must say I prefer this question to ‘why can’t we live forever’, and ‘how are lips made?’

I show him one I keep in a forgotten cupboard and go on to explain about ‘tapes’ and typewriters and record players. Things that were useful, but swallowed up in change. The evolution of the VCR, to the DVD, Blu-Ray and on to streaming, even the old tennis computer games played through the TV. He’s wandered off to build a Hulk robot alien out of Lego. It’s all a bit too much of the past for a 6-year-old.

Evolution of the Provider Information Return

Within the CQC second consultation on the next phase of regulation, we here about monitoring and collecting information. The subtle evolution from a Provider Information Return to a Provider Information Collection (I wonder how long it took them to come up with that name!). Less ‘snapshot’ and more engaged in its approach. As CQC tell us ‘This will be a live online process, rather than a form to collect information in the run-up to an inspection.’

So what does this one-word change actually mean? And will it mean the same for all?

Constant flow

Well – let’s say that you want to show CQC how responsive you are, this could mean a constant flow of information that runs from you as changes occur, or at the very least an annual return. CQC tell us ‘Providers will need to complete the information collection once a year as a minimum. However, by keeping the information up-to-date, a provider can demonstrate an open culture and show that they are committed to continual learning.’

So, as we say goodbye to radio and hello VCR what have we got?

Thumbs up

Let’s go with the positives first. I am sure you can all shout at the screen those things that annoy you about the PIR, so see merit in an interactive approach;

  1. Actually getting it! An online system would cut down error of emailing a link and over protective firewalls.
  2. Real time would mean no ‘lag’ in information.
  3. A possibly more intuitive system if it is no longer going to be a form.
  4. Greater ability to pull information from other returns as CQC look at utilising partnership information better/or a dataset that can be shared with partners to reduce burden.
  5. If it is more interactive, possibly a tool that could be used as an internal tool for you.

Thumbs down

OK, so maybe we have come to grow fond of the PIR. So what could be the pitfalls of changing it?

  1. Cost – how much is it costing CQC to implement? Could the money be spent differently or is this a real benefit to you and them?
  2. If the PIR according to CQC guidance could take between 1½ to two days to initially complete – How much time could this take if it is more interactive? And at the very least more frequent?
  3. If you update in real time… will anyone look at it?
  4. Whatever CQC would like to collect – and on the basis it will probably be more, it will never cover everything you wish to collect, so you may need to duplicate creating extra burden
  5. It’s not clear whether annually the data will be removed and it would be necessary to input from scratch.

Do we have enough information?

One thing is for sure, without seeing what will be collected, what pulls through and some idea of the time required, it is hard to answer the question - Do you agree with our proposed approach to monitoring quality in adult social care services, including our proposal to develop and share the new provider information collection as a single shared view of quality?

Is the future always bright?

I spoke to my Dad the other day. “Dad, remember when we got the Video disc player in the 80’s?” “Yes”, said Dad. “That was a waste of money...”

Whether you feel the PIRs demise would be a party worth going to, or a great shame – ensure you have your say in the future.

http://www.cqc.org.uk/get-involved/consultations/our-next-phase-regulation-consultation-2

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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