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Digital technology in social care

Digital technology has the power to transform services and provides adult social care with huge opportunity.

Technology also offers opportunities to help people maintain independence and improve outcomes using tech enabled care.

Ƶ believes that developing digital leadership and growing the wider sector’s skills are inter-dependent. Growing and developing confident and skilled digital leaders will ensure the digital development of those they manage.

Find information and support on: 

  • understanding and assessing how digital ready your organisation is
  • cyber security and data protection including a learning resource on cyber security
  • using technology in social care
  • Barclays Digital Eagles – free digital support and eLearning for the adult social care sector.


Digital terms explained

The use of digital technology in social care is relatively new, bringing with it new terms and phrases which aren’t always easily understood. Here’s a list commonly used words and phrases and what they mean in adult social care.

  • Digital: The term used to describe the adoption and use of technology to support the secure and effective delivery of services across the care sector. Digital can include technology and computer systems and encompasses a variety of subjects including use of the internet, technology enabled care, social media, digital care applications, consumer or mainstream technology, cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • Digital skills: The particular abilities in the use of technology to support the safe and effective delivery of care services and/or to enable a member of the social care workforce to fulfil other aspects of their role.
  • Digital capabilities:The combination of learnt digital skills with the behaviours, confidence and motivation to apply these skills in a social care context, to achieve a desired outcome. Staff with greater digital capabilities will be more able to adopt and use technology to support effective delivery of care services by their organisation, increase options for learning and development, better manage their internal business processes and make informed decisions.

  • Digital leadership: Where people take the lead in their organisation to drive the adoption and use of technology, alongside the development of their workforce’s digital skills to better deliver care services, as well as wider business and management activities. 

    Digital leaders in social care are creative, innovative people with strong networking and collaboration skills, who can mobilise and lead social care staff and others to share their vision and lead the journey to realising the wider use and benefits of digital technology. They require a range of skills and capabilities to allow them to effectively lead their organisation, guiding its workforce through the adoption of new technology and new ways of working, enabling the organisation to embed technology to remain effective, efficient, resilient and competitive within the adult social care sector.

  • Digital maturity: A measure of how capable and sophisticated an organisation is in their adoption and use of technology. It can include different dimensions including the culture of the organisation to support innovation, digital leadership, workforce skills to support digital working, the capability to use digital technology.
  • Digital readiness: This is a key factor behind an organisations digital maturity. A social care provider’s level of digital readiness is the degree to which its staff can plan and deploy the use of technology in the delivery of care services.

    There are self-assessment tools available online to help care providers measure their level of digital readiness. 

  • Data protection: ‘Data protection’ is defined as the legal control over access to and use of data stored in computers. In practice it represents a range of business processes and activities carried out by organisations to control and protect this stored data.

    Within social care, this is particularly important given the sensitive, confidential, and critical nature of information that’s held about people receiving care and support.

  • Cybersecurity: A protection against criminal or unauthorised use of electronic data held by an organisation and encompasses the security measures and processes that are involved in doing this. The Data Security Protection Toolkit (DSPT) is an online self-assessment tool which helps care providers to evaluate and improve their cybersecurity/data security. The DSPT sets out the standards required by social care providers to protect people’s information from the risk of breach or cyberattack (also known as hacking).

    DSPT completion is supported by the Better Security, Better Care programme which helps care providers to evaluate and improve their cybersecurity/data security with resources and support. 




Digital Care Hub

is a partnership of seven social care organisations, funded by NHS Digital, to support the adult social care sector to become ‘digital ready’. This dedicated space provides advice and support on technology and data protection to the adult social care sector. Throughout the ‘Digital’ section of our website you’ll find links to resources hosted by Digital Care Hub. 




NHSX Adult Social Care Technology and digital skills review

Digital technologies have the potential to improve social care. They can extend the services on offer, giving people greater independence and control over their care and are proven to help support well-being. They can free up the time care workers now spend on administration tasks for more face-to-face care. And they can help care providers to operate more efficiently, so they can do more to look after those they support and their employees.

NHSX commissioned reviews of the current extent of digital technologies and digital skills in the sector and how both could be scaled up.

Ƶ is pleased to be a key partner in this work on digital skills to support with reaching out to a range of organisations and people involved in delivering social care. 

The future of digital skills development in adult social care: taking forward recommendations from the Adult Social Care Digital Skills Review

Duration 2 hrs 21 mins


PDF - 101kb

This document provides responses to questions asked in the Slido chat, including questions the speakers and facilitators were unable to answer on the day.