When you operate an Integrated Care System, providing the best possible outcomes for your patients is your number one priority. This means ensuring a good standard of care throughout your organisation, at every stage of the working process. In this article, we discuss what good looks like for Integrated Care Systems in accordance with the WGLL framework, and some of the ways that ICS providers improve the standards of their service.

Defining “good”

“Good”, in terms of ICS systems, refers to care providers offering an adequate standard of care. This envelops several different aspects of an organisation, with an Integrated Care System requiring acceptable standards in all areas.

Considerations

There are several considerations when establishing what good looks like for Integrated Care Systems. The considerations are defined by the WGLL framework, which stands for “What Good Looks Like”. Each of these has specific requirements and definitions, with each one playing an important part of good care provision. These considerations include:

Well led

A good ICS has a clear digital strategy and a plan for collaborating with internal partners. A high standard of leadership ensures that the ICS reaches its goals for good governance and has a plan in place for retaining these consistent standards. Some specific examples of a well-led ICS include getting input from a wide range of representatives across the ICS, reviewing digital governance and policies consistently and retaining a high level of digital competence from the board level down.

TechUK’s report recommends a focus on working together, which is only possible in a healthy and well-led team environment.

Ensure smart foundations

The majority of services and companies in the UK currently have a digital infrastructure, which the WGLL framework focuses on. Smart foundations include ensuring that the ICS undergoes a constant future-proofing process and that it protects its digital systems over time, evolving in line with the technology that it uses. TechUK’s 10-point plan for healthcare mentions the need for digitising social care, and doing so on a reliable and intelligently-developed foundation is essential.

Safe practice

A good Integrated Care System in this section follows the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria, protecting patients and their data alike. Following cyberattacks on the NHS’s digital infrastructure, NHS Digital now offers national cyber services to ICS providers as a means of protecting patient data. Having a clear cyber-security policy in place with robust anti-malware systems and services is a fundamental part of turning an inadequate ICS into one which looks good. Patient confidentiality is an essential part of medical care, and safe practice in a digital environment secures this.

Support people

When establishing whether an Integrated Care System looks good, the support that individual people have is important. A good ICS has digitally literate members of staff that thrive when using data and technology. This means understanding the means of access to the data that they use, utilising available systems in the most effective way possible and having routes for developing their digital skillset whenever necessary. This ensures that digital effectiveness comes from throughout an organisation rather than simply staying at the top.

Empower citizens

A good ICS focuses on the way that it interacts with citizens. This means that patients have access to their own data in line with GDPR legislation, and there is a broad strategy for interacting with patients in a more effective manner. The use of consistent tools and systems means that citizens have more power over their digital selves and understand the necessary routes for interacting with their information, rather than using a broad selection of tools.

Improve care

The data that an ICS has access to is an ideal tool for developing customer care and improving an ICS’s provision, which is a core tenet of what a good ICS looks like. This includes empowering organisations across an ICS to use the same digital systems and thrive with them, using decision support and other features to bring data into health and social care processes. Doing so in a cost-effective way also demonstrates a good ICS, enabling more efficient use of resources.

Recommended reading:

How are Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) unlocking the potential of data analytics?

Understanding ICS and its importance in UK healthcare

Healthy populations

Aside from the provision an ICS offers, an ICS uses data as a means of supporting the wider population. An ICS that looks good tracks a range of different data metrics, getting an understanding of health trends and designing solutions that ensure the ideal outcomes. Through the support of clinical trials and innovative care procedures, an ICS supports more than its own patients, but those of a wider population.

What does good look like for Integrated Care Systems?

A “good” Integrated Care System ultimately combines all of the above considerations, empowering employees and improving systems and services using data whilst ensuring that citizens make the most of their care provision in the digital world.

Author

  • Carolina Duran, VP of Marketing at ELCOM, joined ELCOM in May 2016 to lead the company's marketing team and implement a robust and efficient strategy to secure brand positioning and growth in the UK and internationally. ELCOM is a global Supply Chain Technology Provider which praised itself for making procurement smarter, more connected, and transparent.