Review and monitoring - Data collection
Social workers have to collect data about their customers because the IT system requires data fields to be filled in. This data would not otherwise be collected.
Information Technology (IT) systems are used to collect data for a number of purposes including internal management, statutory duties, performance requirements of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). Keeping data collection lean whilst being sufficient is a tricky balance. Getting this balance right will help create more streamlined social care activity.
What are the outcomes we want to achieve?
- People understand what information is collected about them, how it is stored and why
- Information is stored and shared efficiently so that people only have to tell their story once
- Staff and providers understand which information is needed and ensure high levels of data quality
What tools and resources do we need to do a good job? What are the steps we have to go through?
- Agreed minimum data set agreed with all stakeholders
- Modular, flexible forms and processes
- Integrated case management system
- Information sharing protocol
- Recording policy
- Online portal
- Mobile equipment/ technology
What are the products we will have at the end of this process?
- High data quality
- Individual record on case management system
- Individual record on online portal
- Performance data
When does this process start and end and within what timescales should this process be completed?
Who needs to be involved and what is their role? Who is taking the lead?
- Business systems support
- Information governance officer
- All care and support staff
The demands of data collection have changed over recent years; particularly in light of the Care Act and IT systems and may not have been updated. This might lead to information being collected that is not used and does not need to be collected. Data collection takes time and resources to do, collecting unnecessary data creates processes that are costly and inefficient.
IT contracts need to be constructed better; administrators need to have the authority and ability to take out fields. However, some fields which are often neglected, for example Section 117 status, are critically important for all sorts of decisions and rights, and should be hard wired to be filled out. More radically, thought should be given to the minimum that has to be collected by councils and the maximum that could be maintained by an external customer facing system. IT systems also need to be integration compliant to facilitate better information sharing between health and social care (and other agencies).