David McKinney, Managing Director of Local Government at Servelec, maps Scotland’s progress towards fully integrated health and social care, and discusses putting community at the heart of the country’s digital care journey.
In 2016, the Scottish Government legislated to bring together health and social care into a single, integrated system.
The legislation created 31 integration authorities who are now responsible for £8.5 billion of funding for local services. This brought about the most significant change to health and social care services in Scotland since the creation of the NHS.
Integration aims to ensure that services are provided in a seamless and co-ordinated way. Ultimately, it’s about securing better outcomes for people in Scotland, and the best way to achieve that is to make sure that everyone has access to the right information, in the right place, at the right time.
Serving the community needs
Public services are complex, so it’s important we work together to provide the best solutions. The very best digital care starts from a deep rooted interest in what communities need – the requirements of their citizens and the professionals and organisations who provide care for them. We must commit to joining up communities digitally by enabling connectivity between health providers, social services, education and charities, an approach with interoperable digital solutions at the heart.
Systems need deep domain knowledge, must be intuitive and easy to use and increasingly be as useful to citizens as they are to the professionals and organisations providing care. We need to strike the right balance between enabling access and protecting data, with a best of breed approach in an open environment where systems can talk to one another.
We’re pioneering this with the current implementation of the National Child Health Record in Scotland using our Rio platform. Our Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system for secondary care can be tailored to an organisation’s specific needs and supports the vision of every patient having one, fully integrated, health record. It operates across child health, mental health and community care settings and interoperates easily with other systems.
Support at a local level
The pandemic has required a rapid response from across Government, and has resulted in one of the most challenging years on record for local authorities. I’ve spent a lot of my time this last year meeting (albeit virtually) with local authority customers – learning about their challenges and common goals. It’s been remarkable to hear from teams who have implemented significant transformational change at record speed, in order to continue providing core public services during the pandemic.
We already provide social care systems to a number of local authorities in Scotland, via Mosaic, our case management software designed to give professionals the time and data they need to achieve more positive outcomes for people in their care. We’ve also been proud to support some of those authorities through our social value work – running digital skills workshops for young people in Dundee for example, as we recognise the importance of making a bigger societal contribution.
We’ve continued to support social workers by developing systems that provide them with all the information they need, at the point of care. Our Mobilise app provides the flexibility to update care records while in the community, providing frontline workers with the tools they need, wherever they are. It enables social workers to make more informed decisions, faster, helping to improve the overall quality of care and outcomes for vulnerable people. This way of working reduces duplication of effort and minimises unnecessary travel, by allowing social workers to complete work steps and update records wherever they are.
More effective digital channels
This last year, we’ve continued to work with clinicians and other care professionals in looking for improvements to health and social care systems to support communities. Especially solutions that enable citizens to increasingly take responsibility for their own care and wellbeing.
We’ve been developing person-centred, self-service systems, designed to help social care teams shift communication and engagement to more effective digital channels. Mosaic Portal allows people to engage with services more effectively, and offers a personalised, digital approach to social care delivery.
It’s a long and uncertain road ahead, but we’re excited to be part of Scotland’s digital care journey and we are committed to making integrated health and social care real by providing joined-up solutions that place people at the heart of public service provision.