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How Covid has enabled collaboration between providers and care commissioners

The impact of the Covid pandemic has had a positive effect on the relationship between providers and commissioners – shifting the narrative to one of greater collaboration and partnership working.

The past year has affected nearly every aspect of our lives, be it personal or professional. For the social care sector, the need to adapt its ways of working has been especially prevalent as we unlock the power of technology - and data - to ensure services are being delivered effectively and efficiently for the benefit of all involved.

In amongst the day-to-day running of care services, the impact of the Covid pandemic has had a positive effect on the relationship between providers and commissioners – shifting the narrative to one of greater collaboration and partnership working.

At the same time there has been a greater emphasis on ‘home first’; delivering person-centred care in people’s own homes rather than residential settings. Having data and insights at your fingertips to support safe, quality care delivery has never been more important.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen that social care’s digital maturity is not on par with the NHS; however there is now a recognition that data collection is valuable in the wider context of social care and health.

The latest ADASS Survey highlights the continued risk to market sustainability with 82% of Directors reporting concern about the sustainability of some of their home care providers, and 77% about some of care home providers. Whilst Covid-19 short term funding has helped to prevent failure, there is profound uncertainty about the future.

It’s no coincidence that we’ve seen an increased appetite for data that delivers market oversight and gives Commissioners information about their Providers to support their conversations, whether it’s to alleviate concerns or overcome challenges. We’ve also seen more Councils recognise the benefits of sharing data with neighbours to allow everyone to work with the same risk-based, intelligence-based approach.

This is apparent in the work we are currently doing with four of the nine ADASS regions - East, Yorkshire and Humber, North East and London - which are all using elements of PAMMS (Provider Assessment & Market Management Solution) to bring together market intelligence, quality and financial data in one place, in real-time to deliver dynamic data collection, analysis and reporting to increase care quality and mitigate risks of provider failure.

By using insights and intelligence effectively, PAMMS is supporting individual Local Authorities and Regions with market shaping, both at a local and regional level, as we can truly recognise future demand. Understanding the future with more certainty supports conversations with providers to understand the impact this has around provider capacity, budget requirements (sharing the risk and reward between commissioner and provider) and the quality of services being delivered against individual, provider, and regional outcomes.

If we drill down to supporting relationships with individual Providers we’re getting strong feedback that our Quality Assurance module, adapted for remote use during the pandemic, is delivering results.

Anil Nair from the London Borough of Hounslow said: “Relationships with providers are now stronger than ever. The PAMMS self-assessment is very useful for smaller providers who don’t have the benefit of an internal audit team as they get to look at their processes in a different way.”

Ranjit Gill, contract officer at Central Bedfordshire Council, added: “Working with our care providers to help them understand the evidence against their ratings has been insightful. This way of quality monitoring during the current challenges has helped to keep the market stable whilst still allowing us to monitor quality and provide appropriate support where necessary.”

Achieving sustainable care markets clearly relies on investment but as the funding debate rages on real-time data about what’s happening in care markets and how Providers are performing empowers Commissioners to make informed decisions and supports the transparent, collaborative working the pandemic has fostered.

To find out more about how PAMMS is increasing market intelligence and understanding, care quality and service sustainability, visit www.hastechnology.com/pamms.