The transition to a digital way of working is something that’s been on everyone’s minds for a while now, with the NHS starting to migrate over to electronic systems and many care services adopting electronic care planning systems. And although the majority of care services still keep paper records, as the world begins to adapt to a new ‘normal’ after being struck by the Coronavirus pandemic, it seems to have confirmed that ‘going digital’ is inevitable for care services.
Some are still resistant to change, while others jumped at the chance to throw away their stacks of paper records that have been piled high in the store room for years. But since the pandemic hit, we’ve already begun to see a huge shift in the way care services work and we may be seeing a change of heart as many start to consider the long-term benefits of going digital.
How has going digital helped during the pandemic?
One thing we can all agree on is that nobody was prepared for the devastating effects caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, and it hit the care sector particularly hard, as they simply did not have the means to control the virus fast enough.
But as we begin to reflect on the last few months, care services from around the globe have shared stories of how they successfully managed virus outbreaks in their homes. These largely consist of a proactive approach to closely monitoring symptoms and suspected cases of Covid-19, and doing everything possible to stop it in its tracks.
Now this may seem obvious, but these measures are undoubtedly a lot harder to implement without the help of a digital system. A digital way of working provides the ability to analyse data quickly, and this can ultimately put you ahead of the game in order to predict and prepare for things.
In the context of Covid-19, a digital system is beneficial for recording and analysing data to assist with effective contact tracing, which in turn allows you to predict staff absences, implement stricter isolation policies, and clearly see who is most at risk in your facility so you can do everything you can to protect those you support.
In light of this, and with the prospect of potentially being hit by another spike in the virus, those who were reluctant to make the switch before are now having a change of heart. Care in a post-Covid world is likely to see a huge digital transformation, which sounds daunting, but could really be the silver lining that makes the health and social care sector more efficient than ever before.
What are the long-term benefits of going digital?
The ability to analyse data is a huge benefit in a care setting beyond the battle against Covid-19. In a day-to-day setting, data and analytics allows care teams to record and monitor data, and spot trends in those they support. This level of insight greatly increases the quality of care that is provided to individuals.
The same goes for sharing data. In sharing patient data with the relevant healthcare professionals at the click of a button, teams are far more equipped to provide the safest form of care at all times, which in some cases could be the difference between life and death.
Ultimately, going digital has the potential to introduce a much-needed flow of knowledge, inclusivity and empowerment between care teams, healthcare professionals and most importantly, those being supported and their families. This can be done through clear evidencing of care, and following best practice established through analysis of data. In doing so, it can put care services one step ahead in providing the best possible care for all, not just in the event of a pandemic, but for the future of care indefinitely.
For more information on Electronic Care Planning, visit www.nourishcare.co.uk