Photo by seth schwiet on Unsplash

The pace of change in the development and use of digital technology is astonishing. The use of such technology has been an essential element in the health and care services response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, the previously unthinkable became commonplace.

Yet take up has been far from uniform. There are very mixed views across the health and care sectors on the power of digital technologies to improve the quality of care for people they support. Sceptics rub shoulders with enthusiasts. This translates into wide variation in use.  

In very general terms, the social care sector has been slower than health services to adopt digital solutions for capturing and sharing information about service users. Alongside challenges of implementing new technologies in their work, this can also partially be attributed to a potential lack of clarity about the exact benefits of doing so.

To help clarify these benefits, we examined the evidence. We identified and analysed evidence on benefits for people receiving care and their support networks, for people delivering and managing social care, and for the wider health and care system. We also looked at specific factors that can help or hinder providers introducing digital social care records, as well as how benefits have been measured in the past.

This work was completed as part of a wider project with our partners Ipsos for NHSX. NHSX is working closely with the social care sector, supporting them to realise the value of digital social care records - and give providers tools and solutions to help them make this digital transformation. We look forward to supporting these efforts in future, bringing evidence to bear on these important questions.

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