Being Prepared for CQC’s Focus on Care Home Technology

Your next Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection could happen at any time. CQC, is increasingly progressive in their expectations of the use of technology in care homes.

CQC are bought into the idea of digitisation of social care and, in reality, that means all care homes need to be too.  CQC Chief Inspector, Kate Terroni, couldn’t have been clearer about the inspectorate’s view on the value social care tech when she said:

 “Technology has the power to improve the experience of the workforce, allowing staff to spend less time on paperwork and instead focus on the reason they do their job”.

The importance of care home technology within this industry is at such a level that CQC are now assessing the use of technology as part of their inspection key lines of enquiry.

Let’s dive in and see what CQC are looking for and how care home management software can support that.

The Inclusion of Care Home Technology in CQC’s KLOEs

Firstly, let’s look at the Key Lines of Enquiries (KLOEs) framework CQC uses for inspections. Key points have purposefully been added in the last 18 months that directly address adoption of care home technology and data protection. There is a mandate for inspectors to take note of organisations that are utilising care home technology to both improve outcomes for the residents as well as supporting staff with their workload in a proper and secure way by using the best care home technology – CoolCare.

Questions that make direct reference to this digitisation trend include:

“How is technology used to support people to receive timely care and support? Is the technology (including telephone systems, call systems and online/digital services) easy to use? (KLOE 1.6)

How does the service assure itself that it has robust arrangements (including appropriate internal and external validation) to ensure the security, availability, sharing and integrity of confidential data, and records and data management systems, in line with data security standards? Are lessons learned when there are data security breaches? (KLOE 2.8)

How are people assured that information about them is treated confidentially in a way that complies with the Data Protection Act, and that staff respect their privacy? (KLOE 3.3)

Looking across the wider KLOEs, you’ll soon identify many other areas in which technology stands to play a big part in achieving the higher accolades.  We’ve pulled together just a few simple ways in which care home management software like CoolCare4 can help you to demonstrate your capabilities for these KLOEs.

Responsive to People’s Needs

One of CQC’s core measurements is Responsive to People’s Needs, which, when coupled with compliance, can stretch a team thinly. Automating many of the administration tasks is one way in which processes can become more efficient. This, in turn, supports the CQC’s Regulation 18, which focuses on the deployment of enough suitably qualified, competent and experienced staff to meet the regulatory requirements set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

With a clear directive to demonstrate “sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff to meet the needs of the people using the service at all times”, staff must “receive the support, training, professional development, supervision and appraisals that are necessary for them to carry out their role and responsibilities.

Not only should your records show that residents are being properly looked after, but they should also demonstrate that there is the correct number of staff on duty at any given moment. The ability to pull off automated reports that demonstrate your staffing levels or that your training records are up to date, is the work of seconds with the CoolCare digitised care home management system.

Showing Your Home is Well Led

As you know, when CQC inspects, they are looking for evidence that your organisation, your practices and the care that you give are Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-led.  Much of their analysis focuses on the level and effectiveness of care received by residents, however there is also a clear steer on accurate and informative administrative reporting. Keeping all records up to date and, using top-of-the-range care home technology, in real time, is a marker of a well-run care home.

Demonstrating that your data is clean, clear and up to date can be done most effectively through digitisation and the application of care home technology. Features of Care home management systems, including Cool Care, digitise administration functions, meaning that preparing for a short-notice CQC inspection is simply a matter of generating reports to demonstrate your compliance is the work of moments.

Meeting Data Protection Requirements

We’re all may be sick to the back teeth of hearing about GDPR but CQC certainly isn’t and it is about far more than consent to marketing, it is about how all personal data is stored, accessed and handled transparently. Paper may feel like the safe way to manage records but the fact is, it is not.

Controlling who can see what, preventing leaks and securing it, is inherently difficult with paper.  How will you know you’ve lost it? Or someone left a pile of files on a train?  How will you know who took it?  How will you ensure those who need to access it can do so easily, without giving them access to other data they should not see?   Using digitised records makes data access more secure and controlled.