Enable Recite
Skip to main content

What is a Digital Social Care Record?

Digital Social Care Records (DSCR) are often known as electronic care planning and allow the digital recording of care information and care received by an individual within a social care setting. They
replace traditional paper records.

DSCRs are person-centred and enable information to be shared securely and in real-time with authorised individuals within the organisation, with a person’s circle of care and with specified
individuals involved in the care and support of the person.

Why use a Digital Social Care Record?

Digital transformation can dramatically improve the quality and safety of the care you deliver. Real time data can be shared across your organisation and potentially with the NHS and other health and care professionals.

This ensures people receive the right care, at the right time, and the right people have access to the information they need. Digital innovation gives you the opportunity to improve the quality of care for those you support. It shows you are transparent and accountable to those you support and their families and friends about how you use their information.

It allows you to support individuals to remain independent for longer and to have access to the information you hold about them. It also improves the quality and efficiency of information sharing between health and social care.

Benefits for individuals receiving care

  • Improving quality of life for people in receipt of care.
  • Reducing risks and incidents due to improved routine monitoring through embedded flags and alerts in the platform e.g. early detection of deterioration leading to admission avoidance.
  • More person-centred care due to timely access to better quality
    information by care recipients, carers and multiple care staff -– people only have to “tell their story once”.

Benefits for adult social care providers

  • Improving quality and safety by giving carers, managers and regulators the latest information about the people they care for, including relevant data from the NHS, to ensure they receive the right care at the right time and enabling a move towards more anticipatory, preventive, care.
  • Improving productivity in social care by reducing the administration of care records and plans.
  • Reducing the amount of time staff spend on paperwork and other routine tasks, giving them more time to spend interacting with people and delivering personalised care. The adoption of DSCR has been shown to release at least 20 minutes, per care worker, per shift.
  • Reducing errors in care provision by ensuring information about an
    individual's care needs and preferences is known to every professional involved in their care.
  • Improving in the information provided by NHS organisations with the ability to view admission and discharge information which will help to reduce the administrative burden and delays associated with the admissions and discharge process.
  • Supporting you to improve your CQC rating and providing the evidence that you deliver care at the regulatory standard. Less time spent with CQC and general council quality teams at visits as they can view information remotely.

Benefits for the wider health and care system

  • Linking with a fully integrated Shared Care Record gives a whole overview of the individual.
  • Improving the information received by NHS organisations with the electronic transfer of admission and discharge information will help to reduce the administrative burden and delays associated with the admissions and discharge process.

Choosing a supplier

NHS Transformation have developed an Assured Supplier List. All technology providers on this list offer:

  • Minimum features such as generating reports and seeing
    audit trails of changes to records.
  • Compliance with national standards and can help meet CQC
    regulations on good governance.
  • Have passed basic financial and security checks to give you
    added protection.

To help find out which system is going to best meet the needs of
your service you can use the Assured Supplier Decision Making
tool. By answering a few questions the tool will filter suppliers
based on your needs, or you can go straight to all suppliers and
see what their systems offer.

What do CQC think about DSCR?

CQC are also embracing technology in the way they will regulate in future. At a recent event held in Norfolk, Mark Sutton Chief Digital Officer for CQC said:

“The focus for CQC is on how digital systems can enhance good outcomes for people and how this is assessed and recognised. (They will be) Pitched at good, sitting above the threshold of meeting our regulations”.


You can watch this CQC video which explains why we don’t need to be fear technology and data. It covers the CQCs ambitions for how technology can improve people’s experience of regulation in the future.

Find out more on the latest CQC guidance on what good looks like for digital records in adult social care.

Is there any funding and support available?

North East and North Cumbria ICB have been awarded funding to
provide grants for CQC registered care providers to contribute towards the Year 1 costs of implementing DSCR. The money can only be used to purchase DSCRs from suppliers who feature
on the Assured Supplier List.

The offer of grant support is finite, time limited and offered on a first-come first-served basis.

Our team will also be on hand to help care providers implement change, and can provide tools, resources, templates and guidance to support you with your digital transformation.

Can we work with paper and digital?

During the initial implementation period you will need to have the DSCR and paper records working in tandem. It’s suggested that you start recording your daily notes digitally but keep the paper care plan
running alongside it until you have transferred all the relevant information over to the new system.

This is a great opportunity to sense check and audit the quality of information in your care plans to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Copies of important paper documentation can be scanned and held in the digital system if needed – it will save a lot of physical storage space in the long run!

How time consuming is the implementation?

It will take time to find the right digital solution for your service and to implement it, but the benefits will release time to spend with the people you care for. Staff produce richer, more relevant records in real time, no more “all care given” hastily written at the end of a shift or visit!

They will spend less time recording and more time supporting. Digital Social Care Records provide greater accountability and chronological integrity, and no one will need to spend time trying to decipher someone else’s handwriting!

How easy are the systems to use?

Don’t worry if your team are not very tech savvy, all the systems on the Assured Supplier List have been designed to be easy to use and all the suppliers will provide training to help staff understand what they need to do and how to do it.

Feedback from care providers who have implemented DSCR has shown that staff who are hesitant can often be helped by another staff member with more confidence.

Find someone within your service who is good at social media on their phone – they’ll pick up using a DSCR quickly and be able to help others, they might even relish the additional responsibility!

Do we need to input all our historic information?

No. There is no need to transfer days, weeks, months, years of daily notes.

Those paper records should be archived following your organisation’s record keeping policy so they can still be accessed if needed.

How long will it take to create a DSCR for each service user?

The experience of care providers who currently use DSCR suggests that it will take about a day to create each new care plan, but as we all know different individuals have different levels of care needs and so this can vary massively.

Remember, this doesn’t have to be done all in one go, so don’t put yourself under pressure to have completed them all within a week or a month.

Spending time to sense check and audit the quality of information to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant will be helpful in the long run.

Can I get help to implement a DSCR?

Yes, North East and North Cumbria ICB is providing a support package that includes a financial grant up to 50% of the core, first year implementation costs.

You must have published the Data Security and Protection Toolkit to at least Standards Met and have a secure and accredited email in place such as NHSmail.

Complete the digital baseline. Send an email expressing your interest and we will support you through the grant process england.dscrney@nhs.net

Top tips for care providers considering a DSCR

  • Involve your whole team is the decision-making process. Suppliers will be happy to arrange a demonstration at a time that suits you. Let your team see and test the systems before you make your choice.
  • Have a plan – Create a check list of all the thing you’ll need to do before, during and after the adoption of a digital social care record. The supplier you choose should be able to help you do this. Involve your team and make sure that every action has an owner.
  • Appoint a project manager – Think of this as a project. Who in your team might be interested in managing the DSCR installation, and who has the time (or can be provided with protected time to help coordinate things)? Depending on other workload, it might not be the Registered Manager, but could be another member of the team who is keen to support and happy to help plan and manage the project. They will need to talk regularly with your supplier, help the team work through questions, and coordinate the uploading of care records into the system.
  • Think about how your team like to learn – Some people learn by having a go with new technology, others like to read training material, and some people like to learn by watching others. As you start to create your plan think about how you can cater for these different learning styles.
  • Find your champions! There may be people in your team that want to get involved with training or helping to champion new technology. Change can be scary, so it helps to have a few people in your organisation are happy to support others along the way.
Back to top