Many businesses have processes so embedded that sometimes it is hard to see that data silos are causing a real blind spot. Data silos refer to information that is only available to one area, possibly stored in a software system or a spreadsheet, that isn’t easily accessible by other people in the organisation.
For example, care worker shifts from the organisation’s multiple sites are sent to Head Office, possibly in the form of a spreadsheet. The information is collated and imported into the central system, but only too often there can be mistakes in the original data. Perhaps an overtime shift hasn’t been inputted on to the initial spreadsheet, meaning that the transfer is not completely accurate. This can lead to errors in pay and additional work needed to rectify the issue.
This is only one instance where inaccurate data can impact social care providers. Data silos can occur anywhere, not just care providers with multiple sites, but can impact non-care and care facing employees throughout the organisation, leading to confusion and complications.
In this article, we’ll be exploring what issues data silos bring to care providers, how organisations can avoid data silos and how a digital solution can enrich care data, empowering staff to complete their objectives effectively and maximise businesses potential.
Problems data silos bring to business
You may notice data silos if you are finding that information is missing, or you aren’t able to locate where the data should be. When it comes to auditing and regulatory compliance, having complete data is incredibly important.
For example, when key care notes or business needs are not readily available, it can have an impact to service user experience and your care workers’ schedule. This is because clients may miss out on a preference which should have been specified in their care plan or an employee’s shift has not been appropriately rostered.
Perhaps you have experienced seeing one set of information in one document, but different data in another. Or perhaps a data transfer happened between 2 stores of information, but the source data has been updated since. You then need to spend additional time working out which of the sets of data is the correct version, updating the system and possibly finding out where the error occurred so you can try to prevent it from happening again.
Inconsistent data wastes time and can mean that you miss the important details because they’re mixed up with inaccurate records.
You may have been in a situation where you are inputting data into a system only to find out that it has already been completed by a co-worker. Or because of the multiple systems, the same data needs to be genuinely inputted several times. Duplicating data not only wastes time, but it could also mean that the overall data is now inaccurate as the information has been added more than once. So, if you have a store of potential employee applicants, and they progress to fully accepted and ready to work, do they need to be entered again into a different system, perhaps for rostering, or payroll?
Duplication of data could lead to incorrect payroll calculations or visits being missed as someone thought the appointment had already been completed.
Lack of collaboration
Data silos, by definition, means that information is being stored by one area without it being accessible to another. Because of this, people in the organisation can’t effectively collaborate to work towards a common goal or care outcome.
If your team was better able to work towards creating more accurate data together, no matter who is accessing the records at any given time, they will always have the right information at hand. So, no matter what an employee’s role is within an organisation, care co-ordinators, care workers, kitchen staff, finance directors or owner, they need to have real-time information to drive the business forward.
Lower productivity and unexpected costs
When data is scattered across multiple systems or scrawled on pieces of paper, it takes extra time and effort to collate it together. And without full data insight, organisations can face unexpected costs (such as agency spend for unallocated shifts) because they weren’t aware or prepared for future needs.
In a sector with such high demand, efficient processes can mean that much needed care is provided quicker. By collating data in one place, it helps to give you instant visibility of business needs without the painstaking analysis.
How to avoid data silos in social care
Integrate into one system
By putting all your data into one system, you can better ensure that information is consistent, accurate and the most up to date single source of truth. You are able to view trends and spot anomalies immediately, without needing to compare and contrast between multiple programmes.
Stop future data silos
It might not be possible to go back and fix all of the data silo errors that have already happened. Instead, look to prevent new issues occurring by better managing your data now. Organise and streamline processes, having a digital system that stores all recordable information in one place.
Make sure that your team are all working to the same goal, using one digital tool so you can more effectively visualise your business needs. By ensuring staff understand how best to record and interpret data in the singular system, it encourages communication between departments for better collaboration.
How a digital solution can enrich your data
Complete care management
Remove data silos by recording all of you care business needs in one digital tool. Having all your business needs under one online care business management system gives you complete oversight of all processes, from recruitment and training to operations and occupancy management.
A digital solution not only stores all of your care business data but uses this information to create visual dashboards that indicate your current circumstances. These dashboards can then filter the information down so you can home in on specific needs of the business.
Predict future needs
Using your current data, digital care management tools can help you to predict future need by highlighting shortfalls and gaps so you can work proactively, rather than reactively. For example, you can determine when you will need a larger workforce to meet a growing demand before the demand occurs so you can start the recruitment process early and not rely on last minute agency services.
For a completed picture, mobile access to a digital solution can mean to be able to work remotely and the ability to log in via a mobile phone. If a system offers cloud-based technology, you are able to access the same data away from the office desktop or at the point of care with a service user. Mobile access helps to ensure that all data is updated and can be viewed immediately, helping to remove the possibility of working with out-of-date information and potential data silos.
Your care business management solution
Advanced Care Cloud is our flexible, Cloud-based, care business management solution, designed for any type of care or support provider.
No matter the size of your care or support organisation, or whether you provide domiciliary, residential, supported living, retirement living or extra care, Advanced Care Cloud will meet your needs.