Does Revolutionary Care Act Have Technology Support?
The new Care Act, which became law a few weeks ago, was described to me recently by a campaigner for disabled people as “the most revolutionary change in care legislation for decades”. For once, it appears as if the rhetoric of the politicians was right.
The act now makes it a statutory requirement that everyone who is in the care system has to have an assessment of their needs; and as a result a personalised care plan. No longer a one size fits all care solution with people competing for resources; now we have a right, enshrined in law, to a personalised plan. Integration is assumed.
And this is surely a good thing, although I would suggest not a panacea.
But having a law is one thing. What about the technology to support it? Do we have integrated systems in place to assess people? Does our information seamlessly cross reference and get to the right people? Does our technology support the new system, and help us concentrate on what we need to see: the patients.
Sadly, in the health and social care business technology rarely keeps up with the campaign and political developments. Organisations in the public and voluntary sector will no doubt very soon find themselves with demands that they cannot service, much as they might want to.
So here’s a tip. Don’t wait to be caught out. Do an audit now. Do your IT systems work in the new world? Can you support and develop a personalised care package for your clients? Don’t wait for the first complaint or system failure. Have a look now.
How should you do this? There are four key questions you need to ask:
What are your key business drivers? The new Care Act will be one, but there will be others. What IT requirements do they have and do they coordinate easily, or cross over and cause confusion?
What is the current situation? You need to ruthlessly assess your current positon in terms of key information and technology systems and plans.
Is there a gap? When you look at the requirements and the current position are you reassured or do you suddenly experience a sinking feeling? Don’t panic! Having an awareness of the gaps you face is half the battle.
Finally, what do we need to do? What actions can you take to fill the gap or at least start to put some steps in place.
Personalised care is one thing; we all want that to happen. But having professional systems to deliver it are quite another – and that is the challenge we face.