How CQC assesses the quality of technology-enabled care

Page last updated: 12 May 2022

CQC’s purpose is to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and to encourage care services to improve.

Technology is increasingly part of how services do that. So understanding how technology drives quality is becoming an essential part of our job.

The use of technology to deliver care does not change what that care is trying to achieve for people who use services. When we inspect providers, or collect information outside of inspections, we focus on quality and outcomes. And we apply the same approach when looking at technology-enabled care.

But we know we don't always get it right. Rapid innovation and changing models of care mean that our frontline inspectors are increasingly faced with new approaches they haven’t seen before – like some of the examples described in these case studies. We're continuing to work with colleagues across CQC and external stakeholders. We want to equip our people with the tools, skills and confidence they need to do this part of their job to the best possible standard.

Developing an approach that encourages improvement

Simply making good assessments of quality isn’t enough. If we want to encourage services to improve we need to encourage them to innovate. And we have made this an explicit priority in our strategy. That means being part of a regulatory landscape that enables and promotes innovation, rather than making regulation a barrier. We've established a programme of work that aims to transform our regulation to achieve that goal. It's supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), through its Regulators’ Pioneer Fund

This work programme focuses on two things.

  1. Understanding what good innovation looks like in health and social care providers - and how we can promote that through our regulatory activity
  2. Exploring how ‘sandboxing’ can be applied in health and social care to encourage innovation and ensure high quality care - sandboxing is a more proactive and collaborative way of working with new types of service and provider

These new approaches will help us to develop a better understanding of:

  • the types of innovation described in the case studies
  • the factors that can make them more likely to succeed in delivering better quality care
  • how we need to adapt our regulatory model to stay effective in a changing world

This isn’t something that we can do alone. We're working with people who use services, providers, innovators and other partners. We need their help to understand how we need to adapt our approach. By publishing these examples of the use of technology we want to stimulate an even wider discussion. This will take us towards our shared goal. Together we can make sure people get the best possible quality of care - facilitated by quick and safe access to the latest technology.

Driving improvement through technology

A series of case studies highlighting examples of innovative ways of using technology in care settings.

Read the full series