Interoperability in social care: everything you need to know
In the past year, the Department of Health and Social Care published 'A plan for digital health and social care', setting out its vision for a digitally-enabled health and social care system, emphasising the importance and need for both NHS and social care tech buyers to purchase products that meet the needs of the people they support, as well as standards for:
- Clinical safety
- Cyber security
Getting health and social care providers and their care software suppliers to adopt the same technical standards listed above will ensure useable data can flow between IT systems in different organisations and is key to making systems interoperable.
What is interoperability in social care?
Interoperability is the ability to exchange information with other systems; it's about getting systems to talk to one another, and interoperability, in essence, supports continuity of care.
Why do we need interoperability in social care?
Adult social care is not just a set of services; it's about supporting people to live the lives they want to lead and ensuring they have the best possible care, helping to enhance wellbeing, autonomy, independence and choice whilst ensuring that physical and mental health needs are met.
Sharing information between health and social care services and using an interoperable system, such as Person Centred Software's Digital Social Care Record System, is crucial in providing the best possible care for individuals. Sharing information about the people being cared for and their care helps health and care staff have all the information they need when they need it in order to make good decisions about people's care and keep them in the best possible health.
Providing a person-centred approach, where people consistently get the care that is needed in the right place and at the right time, means joining up relevant information from different organisations around the person so that professionals involved in the care and support can make decisions with the best information available.
High-quality care relies on accurate and up-to-date information, such as information about an individual's likes, their care needs, and the care they have received. Data and technology play a significant role in helping care providers monitor and improve care, along with storing, providing and sharing this information, helping to streamline processes, reduce workload, improve quality of care, deliver better outcomes and enable people to understand their care options, all of which require interoperable systems and good quality and timely information.
Why should care providers opt for a supplier that offers an interoperable Digital Social Care Record System?
When considering social care funding, care providers should opt for a supplier that provides an interoperable Digital Social Care Record System.
Interoperable systems provide significant benefits to the safety and quality of patient care. In addition, having data shared and understood across health and social care services can result in improved health outcomes and organisational productivity. Other benefits of interoperability include:
- A reduction in hospital admissions and an improved experience for the people being cared for - access to residents' information is available at any time, meaning health and care professionals are better informed when making professional decisions and delivering care, as well as providing people with a faster diagnosis and more personalised treatments.
- Fewer errors - the risk of sharing inaccurate information decreases with reliable, secure, interoperable systems. In medicine, even a minor inconsistency in data can have serious consequences. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain an accurate and trustworthy flow of information.
- Better access to patient records and satisfied health and care professionals - interoperable systems mean less chasing around for health and care teams, as all the information is there when needed. In addition, when people are more satisfied with their care, it positively affects the wellbeing of the health and care teams.
- A decrease in costs - lowering the risk of errors and delays not only improves patient safety but also decreases the cost of medical treatments. Furthermore, digitising paper-based processes and increasing productivity reduces the costs incurred by healthcare institutions.
- A higher level of security and privacy - the risk of data loss or data being tampered with is reduced by eliminating the need for manual updates to resident records, ensuring that resident information is kept secure and their privacy is maintained.
Why is it essential to use a system that considers the future of interoperability?
The future of interoperability will see even more standardisation around data transmission, consumption and greater adoption of these standards. As a result, limitations caused by incompatible systems will no longer restrict the accessibility of data for health and social care services. Instead, advanced interoperability will enable better connections between services, ensuring health and care professionals can tap into a patient or resident's data at a click of a button wherever and whenever they receive care.
Choosing systems that can integrate with a wide range of other systems is crucial. This approach provides greater flexibility in the long run and reduces the need to replace a system as the interoperability between systems improves.
Care providers should choose a supplier who understands interoperability and already offers interoperable systems in order to access essential data and achieve positive health outcomes.
Person Centred Software's Connected Care Platform - built for carers and loved by carers
Offering a wide range of products and services to the care sector and continuing to solidify its position as a one-stop solution for care providers, Person Centred Software's Connected Care Platform incorporates a suite of integrated solutions that interoperate and cover the entire ecosystem of care.
Within the Connected Care Platform, care providers can use one or multiple solutions that integrate and connect care all through a single device. Designed to enhance a wide range of care-related needs, such as digital care planning, medication management, activities and wellbeing and more, Person Centred Software's solutions, when used together, provide a complete solution to improving outcomes for residents, the lives of care workers and the overall efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance of a care setting. In addition, the platform offers solutions from Person Centred Software's valued partners, providing greater flexibility and the opportunity to connect all aspects of your care management.
Click here to learn more about Person Centred Software's interoperable Digital Care Record System and its features.