The way healthcare workers operate has been 'revolutionised' thanks to digitizing their records system.

Catherine Ronzitti, who works for the Continuing Health Care Hub, which is made up of staff from Dorset Council and NHS Dorset, believes the Dorset Care Record (DCR) has made a huge difference to her team’s working environment.

The digital system has enabled the healthcare workers, who assess whether adults are eligible for Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding, or Joint Funding for their ongoing care and support, to get information at a touch of a button.

In the past, the hub had to rely on paper-based records and often needed to visit people in their own home following their hospital discharge to see how they were coping.

Catherine said: “I am one of the DCR’s biggest fans – it has revolutionised the way we work.

"We had been asking for electronic records for some time as in the past we had to use a combination of paper-based records and GP records, sometimes going through up to 50 pages.

"Having health records provides us with comprehensive evidence of whether people need additional support.

“There are so many benefits – having all the information at the touch of a button, ensuring we can see if people have had specific treatment or medications, seeing from hospital discharge letters what additional care people need and viewing the medication records to see what has changed. All this has saved us huge amounts of time and resources.

“Sometimes when we talk to older people, they have forgotten the medication they are taking or information has gone missing, and the DCR is able to help us.”

The introduction of single sign-on through the Mosaic system for Dorset Council staff has also been a significant benefit.

Residents too were benefitting from the DCR, no longer having to continually repeat their story when talking to staff.

Viewing patient records, including end of life treatment, has also made it easier to make decisions about whether it was appropriate or not to visit people.

Catherine highlights one recent case where the care record ensured that an elderly and frail patient was able to receive a Fast Track package of support after leaving hospital thanks to information on the DCR.

Without that, the patient may eventually have received CHC funding, but it would have taken a longer time to set up and would have required the completion of additional paperwork.

Of course, there are areas where Catherine would like to see more records becoming available, particularly mental health information from Dorset HealthCare and cross-border information for Dorset residents receiving treatment in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon.

But she says using the DCR ought to be essential for front-line council staff adding 'It’s made so much difference, it’s fantastic.'