Mark Raeburn: 4 minute read

ECLIPSE: Social Care IT designed by the Social Worker

When we looked to develop new social care IT software from the ground up, we knew we needed it to work for those that would be using it everyday, the Social workers.

Updated insights are available here.


Original text

ECLIPSE has been especially designed for those who will be using it on a day-to-day basis. ECLIPSE has been designed with input from over 500 Social Workers from a range of Local Authorities across the UK.

We realise that Social Workers deal with a myriad of human troubles and do not need to add inefficient technology to their to-do lists, no-one does. Inefficient technology is the equivalent to having no coffee and having your shoelaces tied together whilst working. It is grounds for frustration and being unable to do your job efficiently.

We have spoken many times over the last few years that efficiency is the new social care currency. A supplier that can shave minutes off your working day is worth their weight in gold. Doing more with less is what work in the 21st century is all about, as we strip back the over indulgence of the past and reveal the essentials of the present.

Lack of available technology

Last year we wrote about the lack of efficient IT software across the social care sector. We had long since seen the problem but felt compelled to comment upon it following on from a blog by Lynn Romeo (Chief Social Worker for Adults at the department of Health and Social Care). Lynn is a thought leader and industry veteran, seeing trends emerging before the sector does, much as we do at OLM. We use our experience to predict and prepare.

In the blog, Lynn was interviewing a former Social Worker, Tommy Reay, regarding the availability of technology in social care. Tommy spoke about the patterns that we have seen. He said that at home you have access to the latest and greatest technology, whereas at work, you have access to the bare minimum. You can record information in the systems available but doing so efficiently is beyond what is available in many cases.

To this point, Tommy said, “I didn’t and couldn’t in my social care roles. Yet in my personal life I don’t have to be at home to communicate with other people, order a taxi, plan a holiday or sort out my finances. So why are our work lives digitally behind?

Tommy was referring there to the benefits of mobile technology. All of the services he lists are cloud based and can be accessed from anywhere at anytime. These additions may seem innocuous but in practice they can make a real difference. They can provide freedom from the office to ensure that those who need assistance can get it. We wholeheartedly agree.  Efficient and person-centred technology is the way forward, so why don’t organisations supply these types’ solutions to social care outlets?

Designed in isolation by committee

We have spoken about the fact that OLM is an independent organisation that is beholden to no one because it is important.  We are able to design technology alongside social workers. We know that the best solutions have been designed with the user in mind, they are person-centred. They are not designed for quick deployment with no substance.  

The best technology solutions for social care have been designed with the social care practitioner at the forefront. A prescribed solution that has a cheaper overhead cost may appear more cost-effective but in the long term will always cost the purchasing organisation. This is an empirical fact. Having one eye on the future is what every Chief Executive should do. You need to ensure the long term viability of the organisation that you have been given responsibility for.

Too often budgetary pressures and a short term societal focus stunts these thoughts. This is understandable as the majority of organisations face austerity measures at present. The looming spectre of Brexit keeping all but the most soulless of Chief Executives up at night. We understand these reasons but the future is coming and developing at a pace that would make Usain Bolt blush. To say you are person-centred you need to look to the future and invest, social care is no different.

Person-centred technology – building for the user

Tommy Reay spoke about his training during the interview. He referred to the emphasis that was placed upon person-centred practice and the value of theories. This as we know is incredibly important as you need a map from which to navigate. However, without a carefully constructed vessel, you will be going nowhere and technology is an incredibly important component as we all know.

Tommy went on to say that despite the emphasis that was placed on person-centred practices, nothing was taught to them in terms of technology. We believe that you cannot endorse person-centred processes if you are not thinking about the complete picture. Digital technology when implemented correctly can save time in order to spend with those who need help.

We have taken our customers through four different technology upgrades, with ECLIPSE being the fourth and most recent. We built it around the user in mind, working with more than 500 practitioners from across the UK to get it right. We have not prescribed a solution to the sector and created ECLIPSE to perfectly personify the key tenets of person-centred care.

ECLIPSE Case Management – Designed for the Social Worker

We created ECLIPSE for the user based on next generation technology. We understand that social care does not end at the door and has deep ties with health, education, care providers and the private and voluntary schedule. It crosses borders but if you want to embody person-centred care then you need to see the full picture. Any missing pieces could cost a vulnerable adult or child.

A clean, modern interface sits on the surface, hiding carefully crafted functionality that makes life for the social worker easier. It reduces the recording process by automating known or repetitive tasks. This sounds simple but in practical reality can save hours per week. This is priceless and leaves more time to spend with the service user.

ECLIPSE provides role based security and multi-agency access as standard. Why? You cannot say that you agree with the standards of person-centred care if you cannot see the full image. We have designed ECLIPSE to provide this complete view for the Social Worker and made the correct decision to do so. ECLIPSE is the culmination of five years’ development work and has been designed for the user, not the shareholder.

We believe ECLIPSE offers something new and exciting to the care sector: Functionality, performance and functionality only available in next generation technology, that has been co-produced and co-designed with direct input from Social Workers.