We live in a digital world. Yet in parts of the public sector, technology is still not fully optimised. There’s an appetite at higher levels of government to adopt valuable technology tools, but it is still proving difficult to implement on the ground.
2019 saw a simple initiative designed to get rid of outdated technologies such as the removal of fax machines from an NHS Trust falling short by almost 50%, and the social care sector finds itself in the same boat. Often when talk turns to technology, councils look outwards rather than inwards, but there are several areas where improvements could easily be made:
- The development of care management systems that support social workers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
- Updating websites and directories to ensure information is up to date.
- Improving systems to make them simple and easy to navigate.
- The development of online care and support records for those of us who receive care through our local authority.
- Improved online platforms for care providers to help improve interaction and relationships.
The systems above would allow councils to improve their recording of basic activity levels and expenditure - some councils don’t know what they are spending per hour on domiciliary care.
It is well-known that digital technology can bring about efficiencies and better customer service. It's acknowledged time and time again that it provides a better service, especially in terms of control and speed. Generally, it's easy to adopt, if managed correctly, and digital technology can still be personal and help to enhance not hinder human relationships.
So why is technology not more widely used in social care?
Digital technology already exists that can help councils and individuals. Those who receive care and support should be able to access their records and update their support plans online; they should be able to speak to their peers about their experiences. Providers should be engaged online too, and information shared back and forth with commissioners to shape the local market; management should have real-time visibility over all aspects of social services.
It’s almost 2020. It is time for a clear digital vision for social services.
Managing Director for Social Care, ADAM
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