Cheshire deploys hosted application for integrated social care assessment records

IBM-hosted service rolled out across five public sector organisations.

IBM-hosted service rolled out across five public sector organisations.

Cheshire County Council has signed a three-year, £793,000 contract with IBM to help it implement the government's Single Assessment Process for recording the care needs of older citizens. The local authority said it is one of the first councils to use IT to implement the scheme.

More than 1,000 health and social services practitioners working in Cheshire will use a web-based Single Assessment Process application to record and share information about adults with health or social care needs.

The application, hosted at IBM Warwick, will replace the separate assessment processes used by Cheshire County Council's social services department and the county's four primary care trusts.

The government expects every UK local authority to introduce a common social care assessment process across the public sector bodies in its jurisdiction to enable more efficient sharing of data.

The Cheshire application uses the Department of Health-approved MDS-HC protocol for inter-agency record sharing. IBM is using its Tivoli Access Manager application to implement MDS-HC.

The Single Assessment Process application will be populated with simple demographic information about every adult in the county. When a person is first assessed, the care worker inputs additional information into that record.

The single assessment process application will be an interim measure for healthcare trusts while Cheshire's health and social services wait for the NHS to roll out the nationwide electronic patient records system, said Allman.

Staff will receive face-to-face training and e-learning as the application is rolled out.

Single Assessment Process

The Single Assessment Process aims to make sure older people's care needs are assessed thoroughly and accurately, but without procedures being needlessly duplicated by different agencies. It was introduced in the Department of Health's National Service Framework for Older People in 2001 and is part of an attempt to move towards more "person-centred" care in the NHS and social care.

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