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£2 million investment in digitalising social care records paving the way for improved care for thousands of people across the region

A national innovative project has seen almost £2 million funding distributed across the North East and North Cumbria in the last year to assist adult social care settings with the transition from traditional paper records to digital records.

The programme is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and is delivered nationally by a joint unit of DHSC and NHS England staff. It aims to transform adult social care through digital innovation, as set out in the 2021 government white paper, People at the Heart of Care.

Across the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB), the programme was launched in April 2022 with the aim of encouraging adult social care providers (predominantly adult care home an domiciliary care settings) to embrace digital transformation and to support them to implement the relevant technology to be able to move towards the use of Digital Social Care Records (DSCR).

DSCRs allow the digital recording of care information and care received by an individual within a social care setting.

Replacing traditional paper records, enables information to be shared securely and in real time with authorised individuals within the care setting and within a person's circle of care.

NENC ICB was awarded funding to provide grants for CQC registered care providers to contribute towards the costs of implementing DSCR.

18 months on, NENC ICB is delighted to report significant progress, with a total of £1.8 million distributed across the region for both the implementation of Digital Social Care Records and technology to support care.

Within the first year of the project:

  • 83 adult social care providers were given direct grant funding to support their implementation of digital social care record technology.
  • 70 residential adult settings with 2,461 beds/residents.
  • 13 community based Adult Social Care Services.
  • 11 pilots were approved and funded for Local Authorities to implement Future Care Technology or Independent Living Technology.

Rebecca McIntosh, Senior Project Manager with NECS, working on behalf of NENC ICB for the Digital Social Care Record project, said: “It is incredibly rewarding to reflect on the first 18-months of this important project, which aims to improve the quality and safety of care for people within adult social care settings through digital transformation.

“We, alongside the Digital Social Care Support team, have worked closely with social care providers during this time to highlight the wide-ranging benefits of adopting digital technology to record care information. The appetite to embrace these changes has been very encouraging, as is evidenced by the number of care providers that have accessed funding and support through our project so far.”

Professor Graham Evans, Executive Chief Digital and Information Officer for NENC ICB said: “It is really good to see such investment and improvements being made to the digital offer in social care. Health and care services are so closely linked, and whilst we have made significant progress in digital health, it is imperative that our social care partners do not get left behind. Having a connected and interoperable health and care system, only works when everyone can share information and plan the best care for the people we serve. I look forward to seeing how the programme progresses in the coming years.”

Funding is still available to adult social care providers to support implementation of Sensor Based falls technology. The project team are currently working with Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to target this funding appropriately.

In the coming months there will also be evaluations conducted on both Digital Social Care Record implementation and Future Care Technology.

Visit the project webpage to find out more.

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