Digital social care records vs paper records

Which is better?

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the health and social care sector, the choice between traditional paper records and modern digital social care records for a social care setting is a critical decision that care providers must make in order to improve the quality of their care provision. The management of resident information plays a pivotal role in providing efficient, personalised, and secure care.

In this blog, you can explore paper and digital records, assessing their effects on accessibility, feasibility, data management, and delivering quality care to residents.

Using Digital Social Care Records

Using Paper Records

Pros of Digital Records

  • Saves the resident from having to recall their medical history, medication and other recorded information as care providers are already able to access this information with a digital care system.

  • Quick access to residents' records.

  • They assist care settings in the goal of achieving higher standards of quality and safety

  • No need for internet access - when recording care notes in the home, if you hit a spot that is not covered by Wi-Fi, you can continue writing and saving care notes. Once the device comes back online, the care notes will sync back to the monitor.

  • A digital care records system allows care homes to enter residents' records on the computer via keyboard or voice commands. This makes your records easier to read so others involved in your residents' care won’t misunderstand your notes and make mistakes.

  • When care workers add entries to electronic records, the older versions of care notes don’t disappear. Instead, all old care notes are preserved with a timestamp, and all modifications are timestamped as well. This allows you and your care team to view residents' complete care history. You’ll know what’s been done, what has and hasn’t worked, and what to do next.

  • Digital care systems are kept secure to protect resident data. Person Centred Software delivers a high standard of data security to ensure personal records and sensitive information are kept secure and protected on a robust platform.

Confused carer readding paper documents - reduced-1

Cons of Digital Records Management

  • Cost: digital care records in care settings have many benefits, but the cost is something to be considered and evaluated.

Pros of Paper Record Keeping

  • Care providers in the health and care sector are familiar with how to create, complete, and store paper records.

  • Low initial costs - paper records only require paper, a printer, file folders, and a file cabinet. The combined cost is typically less than the implementation fee and monthly rates for a digital care system. However, digital care systems lead to lower retention costs over time.

  • No need for internet access; you have physical copies.

Carer using a digital care record - reduced-1

Cons of Paper Based Records Management

  • Physical storage limits: The amount of space you have for your residents' paper based records depends on the size of your filing cabinets. You might find yourself storing the records offsite at a warehouse, due to a lack of storage space onsite - an arrangement that could cause problems if you need to access records in an emergency.

  • Takes a while to access a resident's record, especially if it's been filed incorrectly.

  • If care providers have illegible handwriting and it's hard to read the records, you have a problem.

  • Paper records are constantly being updated and revised. For care professionals, making these amendments on paper without making the records messy is hard. Alternatively, you could print new copies of your records, but your file folders will quickly become too large to handle.

  • Paper based medical records rarely survive fires, natural disasters, or other catastrophes. The result is a complete loss of residents' records with no backup. Additionally, physical locks to filing cabinet doors are often easier to breach than digital security infrastructure.

Paper or Electronic Record Keeping - which is best?

While using paper offers initial cost advantages, electronic records provide unique advantages to care providers including efficiency, accessibility, enhanced security and more. The associated cost is a minor drawback compared to the wide range of advantages that digital systems have when it comes to providing outstanding personalised care.

As leaders in the connected care software and services space, we're seeing digital records increasingly replace paper records as care turn to electronic records as a solution. Want to start digitising social care and replace traditional paper records and instead introduce digital systems to capture electronic data? Speak to us today!

PCS GB - Paper vs Digital mock up

Download our handy infographic

We've created a handy infographic to help you see the pros and cons of paper and digital social care records.

The care sector's most widely used digital care
management system