New roadmap for social care data in England

By David Lynes, CEO & Founder of Unique IQ

The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have set out their plans for transforming social care data (announced February 2023).

Care data matters’ is a draft roadmap for improving how data in social care is collected, shared and analysed. It’s intended to unlock the potential of data for enabling outstanding care.

That’s something we fully support here at Unique IQ. I have long talked about the need to join-up data in home care. Firstly, it provides a real-time view of care to respond to – for an individual, for an organisation or as a national pulse check. Secondly, it creates the foundation for evidence-based decision-making, generating a regional and national dataset that highlights trends in need, delivery, satisfaction and outcomes.

Now, the slow digitisation of care is finally starting to make those things a reality. The government’s proposals report that around 50% of CQC registered care providers now have a digital social care record (known as a DSCR), up from 45% in March 2022. The ultimate goal is for 80% of CQC registered providers to be making use of a digital social care record by March 2024, with an ambitious interim target of 60% in March 2023.

As care providers digitise, it’s vital that the systems they use and the data they generate are consistent. We support the introduction of data standards for technology suppliers to social care like ourselves, alongside a list of assured suppliers, which we will be joining shortly. In the care sector’s drive to digitise, it is imperative that we avoid replicating the shortcomings of paper-based systems in a digital format – that’s all too easy to do.

Back to ‘Care data matters’ then, the intentions for the data roadmap are to enable:

  • more joined up care for people, with information shared effectively between professionals;
  • more time and resources for care providers, so time can be focused on providing high quality, personalised care and support;
  • greater understanding of people’s care journeys, with data used to identify good practice; and,
  • better management and oversight of the health and care system, to in turn provide better care and make more effective use of resources.

Views are now being sought on the data needed to commission, deliver and oversee care and support in England, to make these intentions a reality. The government is particularly keen on hearing from care providers and care professionals, as well as the general public, including those in receipt of care.

If you would like to contribute, you have until 31st July 2023. You can give your feedback via this online form.