April 1, 2022

Digital vs paper care plans: pros, cons and everything in between

Table of contents

In this post, you'll learn why doing a digital care plan is just better and easier than on paper.

You’ll already know that care plans are essential for any care recipient.

But are paper plans better, or should you be looking to make the switch to digital?

This blog will outline some of the benefits of digital care planning, so you can make your own mind up.

Paper care plans

Traditionally, care plans are written documents that include information like: nutrition, mobility, sleeping, positioning, oral care and personal hygiene. More detailed care plans might include sections on issues like: falls prevention, psychological needs, recording of clinical signs, communication and information.

Paper care plans may be stored in the office of your agency and a full or partial copy kept at your client’s home for visiting care professionals, GPs or district nurses to refer to. 

Care plans should be unique to every person, so they don’t follow a standardised guideline or format. This means that there are a multitude of different types used by care providers all over the country, but each should have the same three purposes:

  • to ensure that the client gets the same care regardless of which members of staff are on duty
  • to ensure that the care given is recorded
  • to support the patient/client to identify, manage and, hopefully, solve his or her problems.

(*Source RHCA)

Why use digital care plans?

The care industry is facing change; speaking at the Policy Exchange, Matt Hancock suggested that the CQC would begin assessing how appropriately providers are using digital solutions, something they’ve not previously done. (find out more here) And, with the CQC actively endorsing digital systems, there’s never been a more important time to make the switch. 

One of our partner agencies, MyHomeCare (Derby), recently had their CQC rating increased from ‘Requires improvement’ to ‘Good’ with Birdie being cited in their report. 

“An electronic system 'Birdie' had been implemented since the last inspection. This allowed staff to log in and out of calls, complete medicine administration records electronically and daily logs. The nominated individual explained if a staff member was not at a call within 15 minutes of the scheduled call time, the office was alerted. This system allowed management to access information immediately, in an event they had a query or concern.”

That’s not the only success story either. Elite Care, another of our partner agencies also received an ‘Outstanding’ rating in responsiveness thanks to Birdie. Read more about how Birdie helped them, here.

But not only is the move recommended by the CQC, there are many other benefits for your business when it comes to going digital vs paper. 

Reduce paper costs

Recording your care plans digitally means there’s no need to print and store your care plans - instead they’ll be stored electronically, in a secure, encrypted space.

Traditional paper care plans require printing thousands of sheets of paper at a time - and if you need to make a change, you’ll have to repeat the entire process. One of our partner agencies, Prioritising People’s Lives told us that before Birdie, they were “going through stacks and stacks of paper” and now with Birdie they’ve managed to “streamline everything” and achieve “a massive reduction in the paper side” of care planning. 

Stay compliant

Being compliant and keeping sensitive information safe is of paramount importance. Paper is notoriously difficult to keep secure. By removing paper entirely, you can always be sure that nothing will go missing and you’re always in control of sensitive information. Birdie also helps you to meet GDPR compliance and keeps your data safe by storing information in a fully encrypted cloud-based server. Find out more about our data security, here.

One shared portal

When you move your care plans to a digital format, you can grant your care professionals access to the information, right from their smartphone. With the information they need at their fingertips, they’re far more likely to refer to it - rather than spending a lot of time reading a care plan before a visit. 

Find what you need, fast

Rather than flipping through pages and pages of paper care plans to find what you need, you can quickly search and find exactly what you’re looking for. For example, if you need to find out if there are any risks at a client’s home, you can visit your risk assessment on Birdie, find the relevant section and access the information instantly. 

Update care plans easily

Care plans should be regularly updated, but as doing so often requires reprinting paper and redistributing the copies - it can be a chore. With a digital care plan making amends is easy, and everyone gets updated simultaneously. 

How can Birdie help build digital care plans?

Birdie’s Care plan feature allows you to record information about your clients and their goals and requirements across a huge range of areas - allowing you to create a person-centred plan that reflects their needs accurately. 

Digital care plans shown on a screen in the Birdie care planning software solution
Birdie's Care Planning tool

Your client’s personal profile is where you can record details like their likes and dislikes and important information that relates to their own personal well-being.

Record goals, risks and tasks

The digital care lan hub contains six additional key areas of care: 

  • Personal care
  • Emotional Support
  • Domestic Assistance
  • Moving and Handling
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Skin care

Digital assessments

Alongside the key areas of care, you’ll also find an area where you can record assessments. Currently, you can complete an in-depth fire and risk assessment on Birdie, but this is just the first in a suite of tools we’re building to help make your digital care plans even more complete. Find out more about what’s coming, here. 

For each area, you can record your client’s desired outcome and add tasks for your care staff to complete on each visit to help your clients achieve their goals. You can add extra notes to your tasks too, to make them really personal.

Digital care planning tools within birdie
Birdie uses tasks to help ensure a care plan is actioned by care staff

Upload extra documents

If you have any additional risk assessments or documents, which you would like to store in the Care Plan of your client then you can use the document uploader. 


At Birdie, we want to make sure that everyone has the tools to provide the best care. Our digital Care Planning feature is just one way we help you do that. To find out more about how Birdie and how it could work for your business, arrange a demo and we’ll walk you through it.



The care industry is facing change and policy makers and regulators are supporting digital tools. Using digital care planning tools will enable you to:

Reduce paper costs
Stay compliant
Access information in one place, from anywhere
Find what you need, faster
Reduce risks associated with paper (illegible handwriting, loss, damage)
Help maintain compliance with GDPR
Make real-time, responsive changes

Woman working at her computer with a link to care planning downloads

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