Digitalisation is becoming a fast-growing area in care, with providers adopting technology to help deliver the best possible care for clients – but its application can also be crucial in back-office record keeping and in better supporting staff.
Here, Cecily Lalloo, managing director of Embrace HR, independent HR specialist in care sector support, discusses how digital record-keeping can support providers in vital back office functions to ensure their processes are more streamlined than ever before
Digitalisation is a huge shift for those of us working in health and social care.
While many are unlocking the benefits it can bring, for many others, the ‘unknown’ of adopting technology is forcing them to revise their traditional practice.
But with a Government target of 80 per cent of Care Quality Commission (CQC) accredited social care provid-ers adopting digital care records by 2024, the use of technology across the whole sector is very much in the spotlight.
While adapting to digitalisation is perhaps not a natural choice for everyone, particularly those who have been in this sector for a long time, the benefits are numerous. Indeed, many providers we work with are discovering new positives of adopting technology on a daily basis.
And in this fast-changing world, adopting digital can truly modernise operations for the benefit of the cur-rent and future workforce, ensuring real-time records are accessible by anyone who needs to access them, wherever they may be.
For health and social care providers, such digital record keeping can be used in a client’s care – to ensure an integrated approach with other parties involved in their care and therapy – as well as being a vital part of their internal systems of staff record-keeping.
The CQC identifies that digital record keeping is advantageous over paper-based records in that it helps providers to capture information more easily, supports staff to respond more quickly, and enables the sharing of information quickly, safely and secure.
Importantly, it highlights the fact that remote record-keeping can support staff – both care staff and those involved in back office functions – to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently than ever before.
We have supported many care companies who provide care staff to work with clients in their own home to use such technology to its best advantage.
Wherever a carer is – whether on shift or in preparation for that – they can ensure they remain on top of their commitments. Their timekeeping can also be monitored by HR, the case manager or team leader in an instantly-accessible way, which ensures the client is receiving care when they need to be.
It can also help with the planning of holidays and ensuring provision is made for times of absence. Digitalisation can help providers to identify shifts they need to be covered, and staff can book themselves onto those shifts remotely.
Most record systems can also integrate with payroll, ensuring this up-to-date information around attendance is factored in to salaries and people are paid fairly for the work they have done.
Payscales are traditionally difficult to negotiate – with several different scales at play for day or night shifts, sleeping or waking nights, bank holidays and weekends – but digital systems can offer some assistance here.
In an increasingly digital society, where more people across all age groups are becoming adept with using smartphones and tablets than ever before, minimal training is needed, as most staff will already have knowledge of how to negotiate the technology – once they have learned how to use whichever record-keeping system the provider has chosen, the process should be a seamless one.
Choosing a system can be challenging, particularly for those providers who are less adept with how to negotiate technology.
The prospect of digital record keeping can be daunting, and we understand that adding all the many factors which have been kept as paper-based records for so long to a computerised system can be off-putting.
But we are hearing from our clients how valuable the switch has been in enabling them to keep the accurate and up-to-date records that are needed, particularly with the sector-wide focus on shifting to digitalisation.
Undoubtedly, the future of health and social care is digital.
And while it may be daunting, by embracing it now, you are helping to create a sustainable future for your organisation, and begin a journey which your staff will join you on.
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