The better EPR Solution

Delivering Better Mental Health Services through IT Innovation – A Five Year View

The better EPR Solution

CareDirector the Better Mental Health Solution

Delivering Better Mental Health Services through IT Innovation – A Five Year View

It’s clear that there are major challenges for Mental Health leadership teams over the next 5 years where they will be asked to deliver more services but not necessarily with bigger budgets. The good news is that there is help in the form of Information Technology (IT) innovations.  These innovations can help deliver better mental health services.  We carried out this research to find the innovations which we feel will help meet the challenges most effectively.

A good starting point is to understand some of the key challenges for Health leadership teams coming down the line:

NHS Goals & Challenges over the next 5 years:

Tougher targets – The future policy direction is for services to achieve ‘parity of esteem’ with physical health – more demand but the same budgets?

Increasing demand – It is anticipated that service demands will continue to increase, leadership teams will be asked to do more with less.

Reduced capacity – Average target waiting times are expected to increase combined with a decline in the number of NHS mental health nurses working in the system since 2010.

National technology directives – NHS England (2017) has set specific technology goals for trusts to achieve.

As leadership teams think about their goals and plans, they have to consider how the current trends and innovations in IT can help them achieve those goals.   Effective technology is about being able ‘to do more with less’.

What is the Current Situation?

Based on publicly available evidence the current electronic health/patient record (EHR/EPR) systems widely used at local services are relatively immature.

The Care Quality Commission (2018) identified ‘poor IT systems’ as one of its main themes. It saw the main issues as clinicians using ‘combinations of systems’, the ‘time taken to enter information’ and ‘inability to retrieve information others had recorded’. CQC also identified widespread experience of ‘incomplete and out of date electronic care plans for patients.

What innovations can help meet the challenges?

We considered ICT developments with the potential to contribute to the NHS goals and challenges previously outlined while recognising the likely budgetary and resourcing challenges it will face. The main ones are:

  • ‘personalised services’
  • ‘paper free at the point of care’

Information Technology can help

IT can provide smarter, patient-centred, cost effective treatments within and outside the walls of your hospitals and clinics through areas including:

  • Electronic Patient Records
  • mHealth
  • Social Networks
  • Patient self-care apps,
  • Big Data and Cloud computing.

We looked at all these areas and how they are being used elsewhere or could be used in the UK to meet the challenges in the next five years.

For instance, apps and social media networks can be successfully used to monitor medical conditions and facilitate patient involvement in the treatment process.  This smart use of technology goes a long way towards achieving personalisation targets.  Looking at how these developments are being used makes for some very interesting reading.

If you would like us to hear more about these solutions then send us a quick message by clicking here

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time. We believe that mental health is everyone’s business.

For one week each May, a campaign is built around a specific theme for Mental Health Awareness Week.

The first Mental Health Awareness Week was in 2001 and since then awareness has been raised around  topics like stress, relationships, loneliness, sleep, alcohol and friendship.

Hundreds of schools, businesses and communities come together during Mental Health Awareness Week to start conversations around mental health that can change and even save lives.

This year Mental Health Awareness Week takes place between 13-19 May 2019 and focuses on Body image – how we feel and think about our bodies

From our work with Mental Health trusts and professionals we are aware of all the challenges faced and the great work done on a daily basis by professionals and volunteers across the UK to help with Mental Health Awareness.

We are proud to support Mental Health Awareness Week.

CareWorks Sponsor CCIO Award again in 2019


CareWorks are delighted to be the main sponsor of the CCIO of the Year Award at the 2019 Digital Health Awards.

We recognise the important work of CCIOs and the huge contribution made on a daily basis by the people who hold this position in trusts and believe they deserve to be recognised with an award for their outstanding work.

As we roll out our CareDirector EPR solution to Community and Mental health trusts throughout England we get to see first hand how hard the teams work in every trust an how important it is to have people who are driven by excellence lead these teams.

We wish all the nominees the very best of luck and we will see you all on 18th-19th July at the Summer Schools in Leeds.


A bad user interface is a cranky receptionist

Being greeted by a cranky receptionist is the real world equivalent to a bad user interface in the digital world. Both are off-putting, both are uninviting, and both are thoroughly unexpected.

Consumers have come to expect slick, intuitive digital products, making design-related first impressions extremely important today. The first opening click of a new product – that fateful first impression, should be inviting. A clean, clear interface should surface, easing the user into the tech fluidly and with confidence. It is the digital equivalent of walking into a building and seeing a smiling receptionist. A friendly user interface, (UI) welcomes the user through the door of an app and settles them in right away. A bad user interface is like getting a grunt instead of a greeting. When presented with the unpleasant surprise of an out-dated or hectic UI, the user stumbles and starts feeling both distaste and distrust.

User Interface and Brand Credibility

We know that for our end users, our interface is our brand. It is how you interact with CareWorks; your chief touch point with us. Research shows that 75% of users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on design. We believe that the user interface is a visual indicator of commitment to clarity. It tells you how much we have invested in your experience. Our new CareDirector Mental Health solution has been designed with a renewed focus on user interface; we have invested a lot of time and thought into making your CareDirector experience better.


We understand that CareDirector’s user interface determines the solution’s usability. Not only can poor usability foster mistrust about a brand, it can also effect product uptake. While the functionality of a piece of software is critical, this functionality ultimately becomes redundant if users fail to grasp the interface they are dependent on for access. At CareWorks, we foster close relationships with our customers built on trust, and we want them to have an enjoyable experience using our solutions from the very start, resulting in an emphasis on creating a simple user interface with the new CareDirector Mental Health solution.


A cranky, unwelcoming receptionist will make offline customers disinclined to engage with a company. A bad user interface does the same. Because of this, user interface and user experience is at the heart of the new CareDirector Mental Health solution. We have created a solution that can be used with ease and effortlessness, enabling you to view data clearly and concisely, make informed decisions faster and improve care all round. Find out more about CareDirector at [email protected].

Read the full article here.

Vaughan Gething AM recognises the 10,000th user of WCCIS

Vaughan Gething AM, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services in Wales will be visiting the Ty Elai social care offices in Rhondda Cynon Taf, between 13:00 and 13:45 on Tuesday 4 September. The visit is in recognition that the 10,000th user of WCCIS has been registered in RCT.

WCCIS is a national community care information solution for Wales, bringing health and social care together and allowing workers to better collaborate resulting in better outcomes for all.

The visit will consist of the following:

The Cabinet Secretary will be met by Councillors Tina Leyshon (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People) and Geraint Hopkins (Cabinet Member for Adult Community Services and Welsh Language), as well as Neil Elliot (Service Director for Adult Social Services, RCTCBC) and Clair Ruddock (Service Manager for Commissioning and Service Improvement, RCTCBC).

The Cabinet Secretary will then be introduced to members of the WCCIS project                team in RCTCBC.

Neil Elliot will give the Cabinet Secretary an overview and demonstration of WCCIS.

The Cabinet Secretary will then meet with WCCIS users in RCTCBC to hear of their            experiences using the system.  This is a great recognition of the success to date of the WCCIS and how it is helping to better integrate Health and Social Care throughout Wales.  


CareWorks sponsors Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Staff Care Awards

CareWorks will be sponsoring the Staff CARE Awards at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, at Eden Project on 2nd November.

CareWorks are extremely proud to sponsor an organisation that shares our values, who put people at the centre of what they do and are determined to make a difference to people’s lives. Every year Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust celebrates their exemplary staff with an awards ceremony, providing an enjoyable and well-deserved night out for everyone involved. The awards up for grabs are:

  • Employee of the Year
  • Team of the Year
  • Administrator of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Educator of the Year

This is a very exciting time for CareWorks. In addition to sponsoring Staff CARE Awards, CareWorks has recently been selected by Leeds and York Partnership Trust to provide our new Mental Health CareDirector solution. CareDirector is a fully integrated solution currently live in over 100 health and social care organisations in four countries. Our new Mental Health solution enables mental health professionals to deliver quality care efficiently and has been designed with a renewed focus on user experience, operational reporting and mobile capability.

For more information on the CareDirector Mental Health solution contact us at [email protected]

National Social Care Conference 2018

CareWorks are again delighted to be a Main Sponsor again for the National Social Care Conference this year, taking place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, 11th to 13th September.

This year we will be hosting a workshop focusing on Digital Transformation in Western Bay; An insight to the benefits, opportunities and challenges of implementation. The workshop takes place 12th September at 16:30 in the Seligman Studio. We hope you can join us on the day.

A lot has changed since 2017’s conference. We have seen a number of sites ‘go live’ with The WCCIS – The Community Care Information Solution for Wales, including Caerphilly County Council, Newport Council and Rhondda County Borough Council. We also have a number of exciting projects underway in various local authorities and health boards.

It has certainly been a busy and exciting year at CareWorks, but we are glad to be returning to the NSCC to catch up with familiar faces and meet some new ones.

If you have any questions about The WCCIS or CareDirector stop by our stand at the conference or you can email [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you in Cardiff.

Torfaen Young Carers Service attends the Young Carers Festival 2018

Last Year Torfaen Young Carers Service received some funding from CareWorks Social Investment Fund. Torfaen Young Carers Service is a support system for people under 18 who have become a carer at an early age. The service works with children, young people and their families to give the young carers support and a short break by engaging in social, age appropriate and leisurely activities.

Funding from CareWorks enabled Torfaen Young Carers Service to take 25 young carers, aged 11 to 16, to this year’s Young Carers Festival. The festival was organised by the YMCA and the Children Society and took place at Fairthorne Manor in Southampton. The Young Carers Festival provides young carers with the opportunity to have fun, relax, socialize and have their voices heard about issues that affect them. Approximately, 1800 young carers attended from throughout the UK, with most saying that they would attend the Young Carers Festival again. The young carers highlighted their favourite parts of the Young Carers Festival as making new friends, relaxing, and of course the rides and silent disco.

Ways in which attending the Young Carers Festival helped the young carers include:

  • Confidence building
  • Made new friends
  • Took away some anxiety
  • Relaxation
  • Opportunity to share common experiences

If you have a worthy cause you would like to nominate for our birthday fund and make a difference to people’s lives, nominate the cause here.

Using virtual reality to improve mental health

Dr Jamil El-Imad, inventor and virtual reality expert, shares his views on how virtual reality can treat mental health conditions and how it can democratise wellbeing.

Imagine you are sitting in your home, wearing headsets. You close your eyes and when you open them after few moments, you can see a beautiful beach on Easter Islands along the Pacific Coast.  Or perhaps hear the fluttering of prayer flags in a monastery nestled somewhere in the Himalayas.

Created by Dr Jamil El-Imad, an inventor, entrepreneur and research fellow at London’s Imperial College, the Dream Machine produces an immersive experience for mindfulness training to help treat mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress-related disorders and phobias.

The Dream Machine provides virtual meditation by using a VR headset combined with a mobile EEG headset to monitor brain activity, along with other wearable sensors to monitor ECG signals, breathing patterns and any trace of physical activity. The EEG front signals are processed using advanced algorithms to gauge the level of user concentration and relaxation in real time. At the end of the session, the patient is given a recording of how long they were able to concentrate along with a score, which can be improved, essentially training people to concentrate and focus on therapeutic mindfulness.

The idea of using therapeutic mindfulness as an alternative to treat mental health conditions has gained credence in the past few years. New evidence suggests that it can be useful in treating anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Dr El-Imad points out that VR technology can help in democratising these experiences as well.

“You don’t have to be rich and go to these exotic places to meditate and relax. You can be living in a in a one-bedroom flat in a polluted and congested city but still have access to these experiences and learn to control your mind and feel positive,” he says.

In fact, it can be used to cure the attention deficit disorder especially among children. “It is a big problem among children and this can be a fun way to teach them how to concentrate.”

With mobile phones, tablets, wearables and other digital devices overtaking modern life, even adults are susceptible, he adds.

Challenges ahead

Dr El-Imad thinks we are still quite far off from using such technologies within acute mental health settings as it is still not fully digitised, which should be a prerequisite, before moving on to these sophisticated technologies. Another reason, he states, is that the status quo of using pills to treat mental health conditions remains prevalent, and people haven’t thought of doing things differently until recently.

Read the full article here.

Blended care: eHealth and mental health provision

NHS Providers found that 80% of bosses of NHS trusts fear they cannot provide timely, high-quality care to the growing numbers of people seeking mental health support. Resulting in the NHS increasingly looking to eHealth as an alternative solution. The NHS has been presenting webcam and instant messaging, (IM), appointments to patients to ease pressure and waiting times, as a combination of rising demand and cuts to the workforce provides a real challenge for NHS mental health services.

The limitations of eHealth

However, since clinicians often have a minimal or no role in stand-alone eHealth initiatives, they stay in doubt about their usability and clinical effectiveness. Currently, the number of evidence-based eHealth interventions is limited. As such, care providers remain sceptical that eHealth can significantly reduce waiting time pressures and improve the quality of life for their patients and their relatives. In addition, most eHealth interventions are highly standardised and can’t be easily adapted to meet the personal needs of each service user.

The success factors of blended care

These shortcomings can be met with a blended care format that embraces eHealth while keeping clinicians firmly in control. For this to be an effective and acceptable treatment method, it needs to meet three key requirements.

Firstly, face-to-face and digital solutions should complement each other qualitatively in a way standalone webcam or IM-based initiatives are unlikely to achieve. Clinicians are able to maximise face-to-face sessions as necessary for high-quality therapy, and consider digital alternatives for vital but lower-level treatment.

Secondly, blended care should reflect the specific needs of the service user and the flexible input of clinical expertise. For example, one therapist realised that internet based therapy enabled some patients to make a positive connection with her because they were physically in different locations. It fostered a sense of security that was needed before they were able to participate in deeper face-to-face sessions.

Thirdly, blended care should be time and cost-saving. Considering that there are shortages of specialist nurses and psychiatrists, clinicians simply lack the time to carry out all therapy sessions face-to-face. Blended care allows them to carry out some part of the treatment programme at a time and location that is convenient to both parties, saving travelling time and money.

The benefits to clinicians and patients

Waiting times can be reduced by starting treatment before the first face-to-face session. Patients can complete preparation work online, for example a diary for tracking behaviours, emotions or cognitions. It can give the service user a sense of control from the outset and accelerate the diagnosis and treatment planning process. Equally, clinicians can make other digital support tools available once face-to-face sessions have ended, allowing service users to continue building on their progress.

Traditional therapy focuses almost solely on the individual, though a mental health patient rarely exists in isolation: there will be close friends and family who wish to support but lack the knowledge and tools, or the facilities to join the patient in face-to-face sessions. A blended care approach gives the person’s support network more opportunities to provide effective help.

Adding eHealth components that target secondary health-related problems can optimise treatment services. Mental health conditions can cause financially reckless behaviour, whereas financial problems can in turn exacerbate mental health problems. eHealth modules can include advice on how to address and solve money problems. More importantly from a clinical perspective, eHealth modules can also be applied to help the patient understand the psychodynamics behind their pattern of dysfunctional behaviours, teach them how to recognise emotions that can trigger these behaviours and how to prevent them in future.


Blended care is a highly dynamic and flexible care format. It is not just about adding eHealth components to support face-to-face sessions in order to ease pressure on clinicians and waiting times. When done right, blended care can accelerate and deepen face-to-face therapy improving overall health outcomes for patients and the NHS.

Read the full article here.