The Benefits of Shared Care Records

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S.A.F.E. is designed to help consumers make informed decisions about the most suitable location for their loved ones. It is built on a principle that there should be a way to enable anyone to know about a care provider’s services, to ensure the services are suitable and appropriate for the individual’s needs.

Going back to the previous century, there was far less openness about what happened behind the closed doors of a care home. Even in a hospital, the matron would sometimes rule the roost with a rod of iron, and everyone accepted this situation. This willingness to accept what we are given, largely, no longer exists in this country; we have had the opportunity to make choices and we like to believe we are making informed choices based on our own needs. However, to make informed choices requires information, and this information needs to be in a consumable format and available where people need to see it. The challenge is, how to make information available without making the process of collecting and collating the information onerous.

Reusing available information

Care providers have no shortage of demands on their time, asking them to manually maintain another data source, purely for the benefit of people outside their organisation is rarely seen as a priority. Even when mandated, such as Capacity Tracker, the desire to produce this information is limited, and S.A.F.E. will, in all probability, have similar challenges. The only realistic solution to provide quality information at scale is to reuse information which is already available, and this is where companies like Person Centred Software can help.

Care providers using digital care software collect a vast amount of data, and the best solution for information sharing is dissemination of this data in a format that the recipient can use. For a care provider, the digital care software is more efficient than traditional methods of record keeping, and by improving accessibility to information across the team it helps improve the quality of care, leading to better outcomes. Digital care software has been proven time and again to add real benefit to the care provider purely on the basis of what it achieves for themselves. However, the great advantage of digital systems is that the information collected by them can be redeployed automatically and used for other purposes without any need for data re-entry, or human effort spent in collation. This facilitates information being available to other parties in the form that they need it, without being burdensome on the care provider.

Joined up Care

Sharing data is becoming increasingly valuable across the whole of health and social care. The NHS has set an expectation of 80% of care providers communicating information electronically with health care by March 2024. In the DHSC white paper “Joining up care for people, places and populations” published on the 9th February this year there is a commitment to ‘Ensure all professionals have access to a functionally single health and adult social care record for each citizen (by 2024) with work underway to put these in the hands of citizens to view and contribute to’.

Some aspects of joined up care are already available, with care providers having the opportunity to send an electronic record of care to a hospital as part of an urgent transfer, and also being able to see the medical information for a new admission directly from the NHS data systems via GP Connect. There is already a standard for a Shared Care Records which is designed to build to a Core Information standard for care information, and Minimum Data Sets are being worked on by a number of parties to enable collation of information from disparate sources. Person Centred Software are working with a number of bodies, including the Care Quality Commission, to help define data interoperability standards to meet the NHS objective.

The advantages of a Shared Care Record are twofold. Firstly, the information about an individual will only need to be entered once. For example, what a GP knows about a person’s medication will be available to the people caring for the individual at the point of care, without the care provider entering this. Also, when a person is transferred from one care setting to another, the new care setting will know everything about the care needs of the individual – immediately. The greater advantage, though, is that a common Shared Care Record will enable different settings to see the information that is relevant to them, in an application that works the way they want to work. Currently, to view information held on a different system normally requires using another software interface. Sharing information will enable each care setting to use a software interface that works for them, and yet underneath the actual data is totally consistent. It is this sharing of information that will allow different people to see what is important to them, in a consumable interface, whilst the data entry is only performed once.

Smiling female doctor using tablet while talking with old man with cup of hot drink in the room

Person Centred Software

At Person Centred Software we have been working with S.A.F.E. from pretty close to the outset, because there is a shared objective to make information available to those that need it. Our capability to disseminate information will in due course give care providers the opportunity to automatically provide their S.A.F.E. status, in detail, without having to do any work other than decide they wish to enable this feature. For example, our front of house product collects information about visitors and who they are visiting so that contact tracing can be shown to be in place; and scans Covid certificates to show that infection screening is in place. Our digital care software includes a vaccination form to show virus testing is being carried out, and our risk assessment and care plan reviews can be used to help inform the assessment elements of S.A.F.E. Software can’t remove all human interaction, for example, Air filtration and Purification is something that will require someone to confirm this is in place; but where information can be shared from processes already in place, then there is a more detailed and more accurate representation of the situation, which will give consumer a more informed choice, whilst leaving the care provider free to focus on providing outstanding care.