Guest blogger, Jonathan Cunningham, provides the top 10 tips for care homes going digital.

Guest blogger, Jonathan Cunningham, provides the top 10 tips for care homes going digital.

That tooth has to come out eventually. You have two choices. One wait for it to eventually work its way free. Painful, frustrating, anxiety building. Or, two, pull it out without delay. Short sharp pain in exchange for long term resolution.

The same analogy may be used for a care home considering ‘going digital’. They know they will eventually have to pull that tooth out…but maybe not just yet.

I get it! It is a daunting prospect. You tell yourself all the reasons why now isn’t a good idea. The cost, we have fabulous care plans that CQC have commented on (6 years ago maybe), the staff won’t accept it, what happens if the electricity goes down etc (yawn). I’ve heard and considered every single one. However, the simple fact is this. The more you ‘put off’ the enviable adoption of digitisation the worse will be your experience, cost and utility of going digital.

So, stop listening to that little voice in your head and as Nike says…’just do it’.

Top 10 tips for going digital

  1. Ensure your digital project is endorsed and driven top down. Provider, Trustees and Registered Care Manager must be on board and become the loudest champions …ever!
  2. Shortlist 4 digital care management companies. Invite them in give them a one hour presentation only.
  3. Involve your staff in the selection process. They must have their own ‘skin in the selection game.’ Never allow a provider or owner to select for the home! You have been warned.
  4. Go and view the ‘digital finalists’ being used in an actual care home. Speak to their staff who use it. View it for real not a sales promo version. What is the post sales customer support like? Oh, and find out how long have they been in business or are they still ‘working on their beta version’ that will be shortly released. Hmmm.
  5. What does this product talk to, what can it interface with? You might not be interested in e-med management systems just yet but I assure you in 12 months time you will be. Can you join your future electronic systems together?
  6. Scrutinise the contract. What terms, duration, roll over, add ons. Can you access the data after you end the contract? Where is your data stored? What are the terms to end the contract? Don’t get your fingers burnt by getting locked into a lengthy legal contract.
  7. Rip the plaster off! Don’t run your new digital system and paper system in parallel. It won’t work…I’ll say that again. IT WONT BLOODY WORK! So set a date as close to your adoption date and stick to it.
  8. Support and incentify your team. Ensure there are no hiding places to avoid the new system. Monitor user activity, give awards and vouchers for early adopters and new champions.
  9. Become a digital poster girl or boy for the new system. Cosy up to your new system and digital partner. Ask for feedback. Ask what modules could you adopt, enquire about the quality of the data being entered by your people. You will get the most out of the system.
  10. Cut yourself some slack. As the saying goes… Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, take a chill pill. Take reassurance that you are now actually on your digital journey. Just think of all those still thinking about it clutching those dog eared paper care plans. You have done it…

So, that tooth has to come out at some point. Time to end the endless cycle of procrastination and dread. The digital bus has pulled up. It’s time to get on board, commence on your journey and start to feel amazing!

Jonathan Cunningham is the Registered Care Manager for Birkdale Park Nursing home and Rosebank Care Home for Learning Disabilities in Southport. He is the founder of the Care Managers Inner Circle with 4.8k care managers, speaker and social care commentator. His aim is to create the most digitally enabled care homes in the UK and is now at the cutting edge of social care digital innovation and experimentation.