How Councils Can Unlock Efficiencies in Adult Social Care on Back of Progress Implementing Care Cap
14th March 2023
By Chris Sweeney, adult social care lead, Liquidlogic
As you will know, the care cap, which many local authorities had been busy planning for, has been delayed until October 2025. So, what now?
Local authorities needn’t shelve preparations. Many of the underlying challenges that were planned to be addressed to support care reform – such as increasing demand and the impacts of austerity – persist today, and it is possible for local authorities to improve efficiencies and realise time savings in these areas sooner rather than later.
The adult social care funding boost announced at the same time as the cap delay will no doubt be welcome news to many local authorities. However, I suspect little of that will support these challenges as other mounting pressures, such as an ageing population, increasing day-to-day demands and inflation are likely to eat into much of it. The gap will need to be filled through efficiencies and smarter information sharing between local authorities.
A large part of the software functionality we have developed in partnership with care cap trailblazer authorities is still relevant. They have chosen to continue with the development to realise those benefits now, by managing service demand though self-service, automation and the use of risk stratification.
There are several advantages to maintaining momentum. Local authorities can fill gaps now to gain efficiencies and improve information sharing, resources are spread over a longer period and it will lay a solid foundation for services to build on with digital care cap metering processes closer to the 2025 deadline.
Liquidlogic’s Smart Flow offers three elements of functionality that will help local authorities to save time, focus on those most in need of social care support, identify people at higher levels of risk and add efficiencies when sharing information with neighbouring authorities.
Automatically match incoming self-assessments and new contacts with existing records
The Matching Engine is a new and advanced way of dealing with incoming forms from a variety of sources, including the Adults’ Portal, used by adults and carers to access and contribute information to support an individual’s care, and our core open APIs. The Matching Engine automates the matching of self-assessments, new contacts and safeguarding referrals with person records on the core Liquidlogic case management system. Where no matches exist, the engine provides a mechanism to automatically create the person record from supplied data.
Configurable thresholds are provided to allow services to set the tolerance for automatic creation or matching, and those records where uncertainty exists are displayed on a dashboard with potential matches at a range of different tolerances to allow semi-automated selection. This is designed to lessen the time spent on manually matching and to improve the accuracy of the process, reducing the number of duplicates created. Different trays can be configured to use the Matching Engine for a number of purposes. In addition to the Adults’ Portal, the functionality can be used against Liquidlogic’s CreateContact incoming integration API. This allows the benefits gained from the functionality to be further extended, for example, by allowing matching to occur as a request from a telephone contact via a customer relationship management (CRM) system, or an incoming request from a health system.
Automatic routing of risk stratification
The Routing Engine is a powerful new risk stratification tool within the Liquidlogic Adults’ Social Care System (LAS). It takes data inputs from the person record and linked form (such as a self-assessment, contact or plan), automates data analysis and presents teams with tasks on interactive dashboards. The data analysis is highly configurable, and the dashboards are customisable for different users depending on the metrics used.
The engine has been designed to operate across different domains, meaning that different rules may be configured for a variety of purposes. This functionality allows the tasks to be prioritised and routed in an efficient, automated way, without the need for management to read the detail of every linked assessment or form in order to make prioritisation decisions. This makes the best available use of social work resource to target those cases at high risk, while simultaneously ensuring low -level support options can be identified and put into place in a timely manner. Threshold levels can be set on a front-end configuration dashboard, with users able to access interactive graphing to assist them to select the right level for their use cases.
With the delay to the care cap, Liquidlogic has shifted this functionality to support stratification to occur on any group tray. This makes the management of scheduled review activities or waiting lists much more straightforward, with custom metrics from related forms, assessments and plans being able to be used to create rich dashboards for prioritisation and actioning.
Streamline information sharing between authorities
The Transfers tool provides local authorities with the ability to package a bundle of user-selected assessments, forms, documents and case notes, which can then be securely shared with other local authorities using NHS Digital’s Message Exchange for Social Care & Health (MESH).
This provides a conduit for improved communication between authorities, particularly where safeguarding issues occur in relation to adults placed outside of area, or to facilitate closer collaboration and sharing of resources. The functionality has significant benefits over traditional communication methods, principally that information is communicated electronically, securely and in a timely manner. It also prevents information from getting lost or miscommunicated between local authorities.
The response to Smart Flow has been positive. All our previous care cap trailblazer customers are capitalising on their work so far and are keen to shift their efforts to realise service improvements earlier.
With funding reform delayed until 2025, local authorities have been afforded the time and space to further roll out self-service for adults, carers and professionals. This will support them to link contacts and assessments into the Smart Flow module, unlocking service efficiencies and time savings immediately and laying solid foundations to realise efficiencies in order to meet the requirements of the full care cap implementation.
To find out about Smart Flow please email email@example.com.