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Transitioning to Digital Care Plans

Transitioning to Digital Care Plans - Peverel Court Care

 

We are always looking for opportunities to improve the way we deliver care services to our residents. Our next big step forward comes with the introduction of digital care plans.

 

Digital transformation has been a common strategic goal across almost all business sectors over the past decade. Yet largely due to scale, budget and regulatory requirements, the UK Health and Care sectors have struggled to keep pace. However, that is now beginning to change. While more than 75% of care providers are still using paper records, the transition to digital care plans has begun; and it is quickly gaining momentum.

The increased levels of transparency brought by digital care plans is highly correlated to the provision of higher quality care. In a 2018 report released by The Kings Fund, an independent charity working to improve health and care in England, it was recognised that use of digital technology in social care can help improve efficiency, quality, and support more integrated care.

 

Benefits of digital care plans

In fact, there are many benefits. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), have outlined the five key areas in which they believe the innovative use of technology can support the delivery of outstanding person-centred care:

  • Safe: helping ensure key information is accurate and easy to share with caring professionals in real time.
    Staff can access digital care plans and records more easily. They can record information in real time. This can be quickly and accurately shared to help keep people safe, and highlight key information, such as up-to-date medical and allergy information.
  • Effective: supporting effective communication and more efficient use of resources, including finances
    Staff, family and other providers can share digital records more easily and quickly. Staff can use handheld devices to record support given as it happens. This avoids having to complete paper records after the event.
  • Caring: supporting person-centred care and helping staff to spend more time on the things that really matter
    Technology can support staff to make their processes more efficient. This means that their time isn’t taken up by administrative work. Digital care records can make information easier to access and quicker to share. This reduces the number of times people who use services have to give information or repeat themselves.
  • Responsive to people’s needs: supporting providers to be more proactive and responsive to changing needs by helping to identify developing risks or needs more quickly
    Communication aids (such as tablet based apps) can be tailored to an individual’s needs, preferences and activities. Or a computer based app can be also used to deliver tailor made treatment/recovery plans for people.
  • Well-led: supporting more effective quality assurance through more effective communication, information sharing and improved data analysis
    People who use services and their families can use online platforms to access and contribute to the information that is important to them. They can also communicate with those involved in their care and treatment. Anonymised data collected can be shared, compared and analysed to identify risks and themes, providing a bigger picture.

It’s reasonable to say that the biggest and most obvious advantage here is that records can be accessed and updated far more quickly. This will allow our staff to spend less time on administration and more on providing care to our residents. A transition to digital care plans will ultimately allow for more transparent and safe care provision. In addition, it will allow care businesses like us to make better decisions based on data and analytics. Beyond that, the ability to share information with GPs and hospitals when required – in line with Data Protection laws – will help to provide more efficient and integrated care in the future.

 

Risks of digital care plans

There are some risks involved in transitioning to digital care plans; which we are very conscious of. However, these risks can largely be mitigated by having the correct processes in place. For example, the technology provider we choose for the digital care plan solution will be carefully vetted to ensure it complies with all Data Protection and GDPR requirements, and that records will be regularly “backed up” to protect against data loss.

We will ensure strict processes are in place so that devices on which the platform operates are securely stored and password protected. Also, we will make certain that any staff who leave Peverel Court Care have their access revoked in a timely fashion. Finally, we’ll be onboarding and training our staff to make sure that they’re fully engaged with the transition to digital.

 

The transition to digital

At Peverel Court Care, we are embracing the use of technology to drive improvement in the services we deliver. We believe that the transition to digital care plans sits in line with one of our core values; Resident Focus – our commitment to putting our residents first. Associate Director Preet Shergill commented:

Peverel Court Care believe the future lies in digital transformation and data intelligence to support better decision-making and allow us to better predict, optimise and continue to improve care. Integrated care will be vital to the local community, and our digital care platform will assist in managing care between providers; supporting health and social care integration.

Having carefully weighed up and considered all of the costs and benefits, we are due to start the implementation process soon; beginning in January at Bartlett’s.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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24/7 GP access for our staff

24/7 online GP service for staff at Peverel Court Care

 

With a recent study revealing that NHS patients are now waiting on average nearly 15 days to see a GP for a routine appointment, we examine how we’re helping our staff with their own health needs.

 

Access to GPs has seldom made more headlines than it has of late. A report published on the Pulse – considered the leading publication for GPs in the UK – highlighted that in a recent survey, over 20% of the 900 GPs who responded said that their patients faced an average wait for a routine appointment of over three weeks. More than one in 20 stated it was more than four weeks.

Another story from Pulse earlier this year focused on the fact GP surgeries across the UK have been shutting their doors in record numbers. In 2018, 138 surgeries closed, compared with just 18 in 2013. Much of this is believed to be the result of underfunding, although leading figures in the sector have complained that GPs are overworked and stressed, leading more to exit the profession or reduce their hours.

More recently, a study by the University of Manchester found that GP partners’ income had decreased by around 10% in real terms over the period from 2008 to 2017.  This has come against the backdrop of GP workloads increasing by around 20% over the same period. Taken together, it is believed that this “may have contributed to current recruitment and retention problems”. 

 

The expert view

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, was quoted as saying: 

Our patients should be able to see a GP when they need to – and the fact that this is becoming increasingly difficult is frustrating for GPs and their teams, just as we know it is for patients. People are waiting too long for routine appointments, and the concern is that non-serious conditions might deteriorate, or patients give up trying to see the GP and we miss signs of serious illness early, when it could be dealt with simply and more cost effectively in primary care.

All of this comes in the wake of the 2015 election pledge by the Government to add an additional 5000 GPs by 2020; a pledge which they are struggling to meet. However, this promise was questioned by many, including Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA’s GPs committee, who said at the time:

Delivering 5,000 extra GPs in five years, when training a GP takes 10 years, was a practical impossibility that was never going to be achieved. It was a pledge that also ignored the fact that one third of GPs are planning to retire by 2020, and the current medical graduates do not want to join an overworked, underfunded service, with more than 400 GP trainee posts left unfilled last year.

 

Our solution to the GP access problem

Given the challenges faced by both the GPs and their patients, it’s hardly surprising that juggling a working day with the sparse availability of appointments has never been more difficult for patients; and in particular those who are shift workers – like many of our staff.

That’s why, at Peverel Court Care we have invested in a service which provides 24/7 online access to a GP for our staff. Whilst we appreciate that for certain conditions, a visit to the local surgery may still be required, we hope that the online service we’ve provided can, for many, give them an alternative to the lengthy NHS waiting times.

We recognise the fantastic work that our team do in providing first rate levels of care for our residents. So we believe that it’s only right and proper to do all we can to help them maintain their own health and wellbeing. Therefore, the introduction of the GP service is just one of many recruitment and retention initiatives we have in store to help our staff realise how valued they are by the Peverel Court Care management team. We hope that these small gestures of our appreciation can help make their work-life balance that little bit easier.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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