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Digitalisation: the key to data-sharing with the CQC

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Health and social care providers in England will be familiar with the role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As the independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England, the CQC not only sets the standards by which services operate, it also makes sure they are being met through a robust system of monitoring, regular inspection and publication of findings.


Fortunately, the CQC actively supports health and social care providers in England, helping them improve standards and continuously strive for high quality care. The CQC also issues guidance on a range of topics, such as how to meet the regulations laid out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and the Fundamental Standards of care; the standards below which health and social care services should never fall. 


However, whilst the regulatory role of the CQC has not changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, it has been forced to suspend many of its regular responsibilities - such as routine inspections - in order to provide practical support to providers and to help keep people safe during the public health crisis. 


According to a recent statement on the CQC website, they will:


“continue to only undertake inspection activity in response to a serious risk of harm or where it supports the system’s response to the pandemic.”


In other words, the CQC is currently carrying out inspections only in the case of serious risk, whilst shifting their focus to how they can support providers to deliver care, increase capacity and fulfil the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The CQC has said that this approach is likely to last at least until the end of April 2021.


The Future of CQC inspections

Following on from some of the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing drive for greater flexibility and responsiveness in the face of such challenges, the CQC has launched an open consultation on the future of CQC inspections, featuring a raft of proposed changes which will they hope will:


“enable us to deal with ongoing challenges from the pandemic and move us towards our ambition to be a more dynamic, proportionate and flexible regulator.”


These include changes to the way in which the CQC inspects and rates services - such as alternatives to site visits - and an increased reliance on data and digital technologies. Moving forward, the CQC is exploring the possibility of carrying out more “targeted inspections and gathering evidence without physically crossing the threshold”


What do these changes mean for health and social care providers?

It is clear that some of the changes to practise we have seen during the past year in the health and social care sector are likely to endure beyond the end of the pandemic. However, it’s difficult to know exactly what impact these changes will have on health and social care providers in England until the CQC’s open consultation comes to an end, and official guidance is issued. Naturally, providers of health and social care services will have ongoing responsibilities in terms of maintaining CQC notifications and compliance, although we are likely to see some changes moving forward.


What seems certain is that the CQC digital health drive will open the door to more innovative, tech-driven solutions employed in the monitoring and inspection of health and social care services. It also seems unlikely that we will see a return to annual, in-person CQC inspections of all services. This reflects not just lessons learnt from the pandemic response, but also a broader drive to improve automation, streamline processes, reduce paperwork, relieve pressure on staff and generally improve administrative and operational efficiency within health and social care services.


The only way is tech

Health and social care providers will undoubtedly be looking for software solutions which can support this initiative. The digitisation of staff records and the automation of recruitment, onboarding and training processes in health and social care will provide the CQC with easily accessible data. They can use this to remotely measure compliance areas such as right to work checks, effective inductions, and ongoing monitoring of performance, ensuring the provision of safe, effective and well-led care by a competent and compliant workforce. Additionally, improved automation will free up staff time, reducing excessive admin tasks and enabling them to focus on more important activities.


If you’re a health or social care provider thinking about your next step in the digitisation process, then Credentially can help. Our bespoke hiring, on-boarding and compliance software was designed specifically for the health and social care sectors, and has everything you need to automate processes, aggregate records in one place and ensure CQC compliance.


We can help you to:



If you would like to find out more about what Credentially can do for you, then you can book a free, no-obligation demo or drop us a line.

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