A unique Rotherham-based charity, which delivers over 70,000 hours of home care each year, has revolutionised the way it delivers its domiciliary services after successfully securing funds from the South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant scheme.

Crossroads Care, which is headquartered at Bradmarsh Business Park, used the match-funded grant to develop a new patient care management system. Designed to provide families of those receiving care treatment with peace of mind, as well as reducing the administrative burden upon its care staff, the new patient management system delivers real-time updates, as well as replacing its cumbersome paper-based systems with an electronic alternative.

The registered charity supports over 700 patients each day, as well as running its own café and charity shop in Rotherham’s town centre. Crossroads first began exploring the idea of moving to a digital care management system in 2019; however, its plans were dashed when it was unable to find a suitable platform that met its unique needs and budget.

Having successfully implemented a digital call monitoring system during the Covid-19 pandemic, Crossroads identified a possible solution earlier this year and with plans in place, approached the South Yorkshire Digital Innovation scheme to help fund the project through a match-funded grant.

Since securing help from the Digital Innovation Grant scheme, Crossroads began putting their plans into practice, and after successfully trialling the new platform, the organisation has replaced its paper-based system, allowing carers to update patient records at the click of a button. At the same time, carers also receive access to detailed notes that provide information about each patient, medication and any changes in their health.

The new patient management system has helped to reduce the amount of time carers spend filling in forms, as well as helping the organisation to communicate more effectively with its patients. As part of the new platform, Crossroads has also successfully developed a family app, allowing family members of those receiving care to share information.

Fay Warner, chief operations officer, said: “Crossroads is a unique organisation that delivers a range of care support to people living across South Yorkshire. Until recently, most of our patient records were kept on a paper-based system. We recognised that this placed an enormous administrative burden on our staff.

Implementing digital care plans is something that we have been wanting to do for some time, but despite exploring many different options, we couldn’t find a system that met our needs, and to create a new one from scratch was something well beyond our budget. When we heard about the South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant scheme, we decided to apply to see if they could help. The match funded grant meant that we were able to explore different options, but we wanted to find a way of improving how we communicated with patients and their loved ones, as well as finding a way of reducing the paperwork our carers needed to complete after each visit.

The funds we received have helped us to implement a new way of working, which has helped us to improve communication between patients, their families and staff. For example, because the system operates in real time, we can manage our staff more effectively by reducing travel time between appointments, as well as providing a message within ten minutes if a care worker has been delayed. It’s been a genuine game changer for our organisation and one that is already helping hundreds of people every day.”

Anna Smith, programme manager, South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant scheme, said: “The Digital Innovation Grant was introduced to help businesses across South Yorkshire to boost productivity by embracing new forms of technology. Many of the organisations we have helped have been able to use the funds to explore new markets, introduce new products or services as well as helping employees to operate more effectively.

For Crossroads, the ability to replace paper-based systems with a digital alternative has helped to reduce a significant administrative burden faced by staff, as well as improving the way in which carers communicate with patients and their family members. I would urge any SME in South Yorkshire thinking of using technology in their business to apply for help through the Digital Innovation Grant scheme.”

The Digital Innovation Grant scheme was launched in July 2021 and helps SME businesses across South Yorkshire to access match-funded grants to help them embrace new ways of working to improve productivity and growth and enter new markets.

The programme funds up to 50% of projects with costs totalling £2,000-£10,000. It is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is delivered across South Yorkshire by Enterprising Barnsley, part of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. To find out more information, visit https://www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk/.