The release of the NHS 5-Year Forward View has marked a new era of healthcare and a huge push towards integrated care environments. For the most part, it requires primary and secondary NHS healthcare organisations to work together in their "footprint" and build plans to tackle the healthcare challenges of the population in which they serve. These plans are known as Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) and include the identification of major healthcare challenges suffered by their footprint population, from a healthcare and social perspective, and to formulate comprehensive five year plans to overcome these challenges in unison.
STPs from 44 NHS and Local Authority footprints have been submitted to NHS England as of the end of October 2016. These plans cover a wide range of themes, ranging from prevention and primary care to improving mental health and community care practices. They also identify specific population challenges, including approaches to improve broader health and wellbeing in the community – for example, approaches to tackling childhood obesity.
As admirable as these objectives are, they open up a whole raft of complexities when it comes to the sharing of patient information and underlying technology within the NHS. This is because the Forward View requires different NHS entities to work together, whereas historically this has not been the case. Over the years, these organisations have procured an array of different systems to perform similar jobs. These include, but are not limited to: EMIS or Cerner for storing patient data, and a wide array of other systems, such as MIG, Health Analytics, Black Pear, Docman and Coordinate My Care. This makes it notoriously difficult to provide caregivers information readily available across NHS entities that operate on these different systems.
Ultimately, this has resulted in the duplication of activities and information gathering processes, thus consuming clinician time and public money. The Forward View has recognised the importance of driving efficiency within the NHS, with saving clinician time becoming a priority. For instance, saving just one hour of a GP's time per week could result in an extra 520 patients being seen every year by each doctor.
How can this be achieved?
Numerous NHS bodies already utilise the scalability and integration capabilities of Content Guru's cloud communications platform, storm, including within the NHS 111 Integrated Urgent Care environment in London. This is known as the Patient Relationship Management (PRM) solution. It performs routing decisions for all 111 calls made in London based on information gathered through integration with a number of NHS systems. This integration, between the many varied and disparate systems used across the Capital, allows storm to perform routing decisions based on the caller's location, existing care plan or local care record, and whether they have contacted the service recently, routing them back to the same call-handling provider.
storm has enabled the NHS to use intelligence gathered across a multitude of disparate systems in a cohesive manner, providing real benefits to patients, such as speed of access to the right service and effective triage. Ultimately, this delivers downstream efficiencies to the NHS, such as measurable reductions in ambulance callouts and emergency department admissions.
Interoperability of systems has become a key issue thrown into the spotlight by the new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, and is presented as the first point on his 6-point plan for improving the NHS. The Integration of services, such as that delivered by the PRM solution, needs to be replicated across the NHS and healthcare sector to give the appearance of a unified NHS from the patient's perspective, and to help solve healthcare challenges across the country.
To find out how we have applied these principals to NHS and transformed patient experience, you can read the NHS 111 PRM case study, get in touch with me at: JPH@contentguru.com or call +44 (0) 1344 852 350.