April 21, 2020
Digital solutions are an essential part of streamlining business practices, and can be an enormous help with data gathering.
We spoke to Duncan Campbell about what the new C19 CONTROL service is, how it works and what it can do to support providers through coronavirus.
What is C19 CONTROL?
C19 CONTROL is a new and entirely free service that helps providers to monitor basic but essential information about how COVID-19 is affecting the people they support and PPE usage and levels.
The digital solution is available on Android and iOS and is supported by a web-based portal to allow as many providers as possible to be able to benefit. Providers register for free online and care workers can then download the app onto a tablet or smartphone to record data.
Its main functionalities include:
- Supporting care workers to monitor people’s COVID-19 status.
- Supporting providers to monitor PPE levels.
- Allowing for easier reporting and data sharing.
The PPE tracking functionality means that supervisors can see at a glance where supplies are being used, how much everyone has, and what they might need more of. Providers can set minimum stock levels and anticipated use. This can be especially useful in these difficult times – if a provider starts using more gloves than they thought they would, for example, they can see this immediately, understand where stock is being used and put measures in place to make sure they don’t run out.
Why did you create this service?
We want to support providers to run their services as best they can and to understand the impact coronavirus could be having on the people they care for and their staff.
C19 CONTROL is totally separate to our everyLIFE Technologies systems. We had already put in place monitoring tools for people using our PASS platform but we felt this wasn’t enough.
We wanted to create something for the whole sector that didn’t depend on providers already using a digital system. We are hoping this can help people who might be using paper-based records or anyone who just wants an easy way of recording and sharing this vital data.
At one point, near the start of the development, I wondered if we were trying to do too much, if we were asking too much of our teams to bring together a whole new solution, but they wanted to carry on. They recognised that digital is going to be key in the response to coronavirus, and we all need to do what we can to make a difference.
The ultimate aim of this service is to help make a difference at the right time. We’ve developed it specifically for frontline care because that’s what we know and where we can make the biggest impact.
Not everyone is comfortable using digital solutions. Can this work for them?
The service has been designed to be easy to use, and to feel familiar as an interface. There’s also an online help system that people can go to for assistance if they’re having difficulties.
We are hoping in the future to have webinars and forums online too which will guide people through using the service to its optimum functionality.
How can providers use this to share data?
As well as allowing care workers to quickly and easily record data, C19 CONTROL gives management the option of reporting on this data. This information can then be shared – both with people who are asking providers to share data (such as the regulator, local and central government, and the NHS), and with other providers.
All of the data and reports generated that are intended for sharing are aligned with government guidelines and data protection requirements.
Is this just another thing providers and care workers will have to do?
C19 CONTROL is actually intended to free-up time. It’s a really quick and straight-forward way of keeping track of things during this outbreak and should be seen as a tool to help. Care workers can enter the information and focus on the job of caring for people.
The functionality is purposefully limited in some senses, so that everything is kept simple and can be accessed both quickly and easily.
How does this impact on a wider scale?
One of the key factors in responding to COVID-19 is going to be the availability of trusted data. We already know that availability of data for the social care sector is limited compared to that of the NHS for example, and it’s important that we gather and share what we can with those trying to address the pandemic on a wider level.
We must also recognise the whole health and care journey for each individual; despite the sectors being separate, the person experiencing care is on one journey, and we need to make sure that we are feeding in data at all points in that time, rather than the data spiking when that person is using health services.
There are currently several bodies collecting data to help inform social care’s response to coronavirus. We have been working as part of the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA) to gather information and feed it into NHS Digital. This information is contributing to heat maps of the COVID-19 status across England so that we can see the evolution and track the spread of the disease.
It’s essential that we have this sort of information – and as much of it as possible – to inform judgements from a national point of view, but it also helps providers make well-informed decisions around caring, staff and PPE. We hope that C19 CONTROL will be a step in the right direction in terms of collecting reliable data that can be used at all levels.