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Good quality records reflect your service, showcasing that it is run safely and with a compassionate mindset. They display effectiveness and high-quality care. And communicate to relevant individuals what’s needed and when. All this in a place that’s easy to locate.
This rhymes with a digital alternative to what has previously been done on paper. And is the reason there is real momentum behind Digital Social Care Records (DSCR). Both in terms of funding and focus.
What will the shift from paper-based record keeping to a digital one bring? What will a “Good” rating from the CQC look like?
This article will explore how you can achieve a better standard in your service. And the role of the CQC and what your inspector should and will be looking out for in an inspection.
Your care plans and recordings are the foundation for achieving good outcomes for the people you support. And evidencing it to the inspectors. Easily done when digitised but also possible with immaculate paper records.
Following the 2020 CQC interim guidelines, some of the accepted wins are easily collated. Here’s a list that shows the various aspects of digital records. Straight from the horse’s mouth.
Lofty promises which can only be realised if the system is implemented properly. A good DSCR system implemented poorly will net none of the benefits. DSCR is a tool that needs to be used in the intended way. Otherwise, there will only be frustration and apathy towards it.
In the words of the CQC, “a good records system delivers good outcomes from the point of view of people who use services”. These outcomes are the same whether the records are on paper or digital.
One way of illustrating or questioning these outcomes is by using the recommended “I statements”. These are to be viewed from the perspective of someone using services and can be used by everyone in the sector.
A good DSCR system addresses all “I statements” in an intuitive manner. Contrary to its paper-based counterpart a digital system can be more insisting.
For instance, requiring a certain form to be recorded and completed before allowing a staff member to tick an activity as done. Think requiring documentation of where on the body you inject insulin on a body map for an activity called “Insulin injection”.
Go back 5 years and few organisations used a digital social care records system. Go back 15 years and most of the suppliers of such systems hadn’t even been created yet. This is a burgeoning field with few universally agreed-upon standards.
No standardised format or system. Records can be fully digital or a mix of paper and digital. No matter the format though, the records need to live up to the Key Lines of Enquiry, mapping from evidence to individual KLOEs.
That said, all records need to adhere to basic legislation such as Regulation 17 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, GDPR and the Data Security and Protection Toolkit.
Should the KLOEs be amended to reflect the added benefits of digital records? The standards elevated? Difficult questions to answer but the CQC are keeping an eye on them. Hence the interim nature of the guidance from September 2020. We suspect there will be more thorough demands coming in terms of showcasing good quality care.
For any inspector, the real purpose of any type of evidence is to illustrate compliance with their given frameworks. To show how a service complies with some of the following points.
Undoubtedly, a comprehensive list of just a few of the guidelines social care services are expected to comply with. And the reason why a surprise inspection from the CQC is few people’s cup of tea. But with digital records, it is much easy to demonstrate compliance with the guidelines – and the record keeping happens automatically.
For providers that are already using a digital records system, or considering introducing a digital records system, or moving to a new system, the CQC has committed to:
DHSC has recently published their vision for digital technology. They provide guidance for Local Authorities and care providers. Read their vision for what good looks like in adult social care here.
As digital records have become more commonplace, CQC inspectors have also become more confident in using Digital Social Care Records systems. Most DSCRs support creating a guest log-in that inspectors can use to access any information they should need.
CQC inspectors can’t be expected to know every single DSCR system out there but the ones who are accredited on the Assured Supplier List will be a safe bet.
Being able to access an individual’s records digitally will open the door for more remote inspections requesting information online. This will save time for both inspectors and managers – and allow for more frequent inspections.
So, a main area of focus will be on sharing data. Aligning the language used by inspectors, staff and DSCR suppliers. A standardised framework. Something that won’t magically appear but needs close collaboration.
The CQC are open to this and recognises the potential. In the words of Chief Digital Officer, Mark Sutton:
”CQC knows that good quality records underpin safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care. They ensure that the right information is available to the right people when they need it. They are an essential part of achieving good outcomes for people. CQC also know that digital record systems far exceed the capabilities and benefits of paper-based records. We fully support the adoption of Digital Social Care Records.”
Listen to the full statement below 👇