The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is developing the way it approaches care regulation to improve how it interacts and communicates with the care sector. With a recent announcement that the CQC will now be more data-driven, this marks a much-needed update to its system – but what does this change mean for care home owners?
In October, Mark Sutton, Care Quality Commission Chief Digital Officer, published a blog post outlining the CQC’s strategy for a more data-driven strategy in health and care sector regulation. Intended to make the CQC a ‘smarter regulator’ that is more dynamic and flexible, the change in strategy will also allow for a much more accurate and targeted response to new trends and predictions.
What are the CQC’s reasons to choose data?
Amongst some of the reasons given for the CQC’s new data-driven approach are:
- The pressures of the pandemic: It’s no secret that the health and care sector was hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown. Having access to better data from a wider range of sources will allow the CQC to make more accurate predictions on upcoming trends within the sector.
- Better data sharing: A new digital interface will give health and care providers an easier way to view, check and update information with the CQC, as well as gain insights from the CQC’s data.
- Better public services: By providing the public with greater transparency around care home performance and encouraging feedback, CQC decision making can improve to fit users’ experiences better.
Making the move to being a data-driven regulator also allows the CQC to build a much clearer relationship with UK care homes, by providing up-to-date information, facts and guidance in an accessible and modern format.
Why data matters in care home reporting
Data is vital to the health and care sector, as it allows us to identify patterns and trends before they happen. That’s why at Fulcrum we developed our own CQC data dashboard, to give people access to a wide range of valuable insights on CQC ratings, regulation and care home comparisons from across the UK.
This can not only help improve care home commercials by providing insights into competitors, but it can also be incredibly effective for promoting Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC). As the CQC has had to reduce or stop the number of physical care home visits as an adaptive measure over lockdown, having access to real-time data can help to identify whether new shifts or outbreaks are happening in regions, or where more support is needed for struggling care homes.
The challenges of data collection in care
While we fully support the CQC’s move to using a data-driven approach to care regulation, we recognise that there may be some challenges which may influence whether the sector is able to take advantage of these systems.
Some of the potential obstacles are:
- Individual data reporting: To have a comprehensive image of the sector, care homes will have to self-report data regularly to the CQC. This makes care homes independently responsible for the monitoring and updating of their own data alongside already pressured roles.
- Having the right technology: Some care homes do not yet have the correct systems or resources in place to utilise the CQC’s new data portal proposals properly.
- Having the right support to upgrade: If a care home does not have the right systems or technology in place for the CQC’s new approach, do they have the budget and incentives in place to modernise?
- Additional staff training: Care workers who have worked at a care home for a long time will be very used to following previous methods. You may need to introduce additional training and communication to get your staff up to speed with any new reporting systems and to identify if there are any issues.
Helping care homes make the change to data-driven reporting
Whether we are working with independent care homes or larger care home groups, Fulcrum’s team of expert care consultants is uniquely positioned to help care management teams adopt a data-driven approach. We are champions for using bespoke, data-led systems that help our clients optimise their services and are pleased to see that the CQC has chosen to do the same.
While some care homes may struggle with adapting to new methods of reporting, CQC updates and regulatory changes, the new approach is ultimately for the best and will help to encourage a much more transparent, accessible and beneficial future for the care sector as a whole.