How to make the Care Act 'real' for patients was the big question at the Association of Directors of Social Services Conference in Westminster this month.
Quicksilva were invited by organisers techUK to join social care system suppliers and other stakeholders in Health and Social Care integration for the annual event, which began with a keynote speech from Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb MP.
Care Assessments, Personal Care Budgets, provisions for Carers and how to ensure Continuity of Care across geographical boundaries are all provisions of the Care Act that Directors of Care were keen to tackle with technology. The conference provided a platform for the 'Integration Pioneers' - fourteen teams leading Health and Social Care integration in England - to share their ambitious local approaches to these issues.
Online self-service portals and citizen access to records were high on the agenda and one theme soon became clear - any Information Sharing strategy to facilitate the Care Act must have the patient at its heart. All agreed that the hurdle of engaging citizens to use on-line services was a key piece of the puzzle.
The Department of Health offered a behind-the-scenes insight into their strategy for integration, highlighting the importance of the NHS Number as a universal identifier. This topic was certainly popular over at Quicksilva's exhibition stand, as Care Directors learned how Spine Mini Services such as orQestra® now make one-click access to the NHS Number possible for Social Care Organisations.
The day finished up with a session by Social Care systems provider Corelogic, one of three Social Care systems providers working with HSCIC on the London Adapter project, powered by Quicksilva's conneQt® Integration Engine. Back at the stand, Directors were keen to understand how Care Plans, Assessments and Continuity of Care packs required by the Care Act could now be sent electronically using conneQt®.
There is no doubt it is a challenging time to be a Director of Care in Adult Social Services. The event offered us a valuable reminder of the context in which IT decisions are made - that is, amongst many other priorities and conflicting pressures.
However, the team all agreed that the level of innovation and commitment by Directors to using technology as a means of delivering the Care Act is extraordinary and we look forward to seeing the exciting developments next year.