Strategy sets out plans to improve data collection in adult social care

A data framework for adult social care will be published by the end of the year setting out what information the sector needs to collect, as part of the government’s drive for better integration.

Improving data in the sector is one of seven principles outlined in the government’s latest strategy to drive innovation and improve efficiency across health and care.

Backed by £25m, it will look to scale up implementation of digital technology across the sector, including ensuring at least 80% of providers have a digitised care record by March 2024. Only 45% of providers use a digital social care record, while research published in December showed 23% of care home staff could not access the internet consistently at work.

Government will also look to ‘introduce a power’ to require information from all providers so it can build a picture of the delivery of adult social care services across England. It will also continue to promote NHSmail, evaluate the impact of solutions that are in place for access to primary care data, and work with the telecare sector ahead of the transition from analogue to digital phone lines by 2025.

Health and social care secretary of state Sajid Javid

‘We must be open and honest about the fact that social care lags behind the NHS when it comes to digital transformation,’ health and social care secretary Sajid Javid is due to say at a HealthTech summit today.

‘Our social care system is home to some of our most vulnerable in our society, and so the opportunities on offer are even greater. This strategy shows our determination to close the digital divide that exists between the NHS and social care.’

As well as adult social care, the strategy, Data Saves Lives: Reshaping Health and Social Care with Data, focuses on six other principles: improving trust in the use of data; giving professionals the information they need to provide the best care; supporting local decision makers with data; empowering researchers to develop life changing treatments and diagnostics; working with partners to develop innovations; and developing the right technical infrastructure.

The strategy outlines how integrated care records will help enable smoother transitions between NHS services and social care, including quicker discharge from hospital. It will be followed by publication of the government’s digital health and care plan.