By Darren Jalink - 3rd Mar 2020
Read time - 5 minutes
Establishing a care service that transcends the boundaries of Hospital, Community and Social Care is a goal of many health systems globally.
With many successful projects now underway. Each project has different goals and certainly unique challenges, however, the one thing every successful implementation has had in common is a resolute commitment to the long term vision, from the national regulatory bodies, the Acute and Community sectors through to Social care and Pharmacy. People-centred care with direct access to the services they require supported by a wraparound system of aligned practice and processes.
The vision includes the principle of the right care, right place, right time by the right person. With this in mind, thoughts have to shift to an aligned system-wide workforce. Due to several factors, there has been a steady increase in more complex admissions into Acute facilities. With slowing patient flow through the Hospital, worsened by sluggish discharges into the community due to lack of provision and resource to handle some of these more complex cases. The fantastic workforce of the NHS has fallen victim to years of short term focused budget planning and procurement.
As we enter the digital transformation era of the NHS many systems have been put in place to help distribute resources to meet demand. Once again short term thinking remains and it's killing innovation. Many health organisations, due to pressures from national bodies and ill-thought releases of funding have ended up with suppliers or providers that do not support or align with the NHS Goals of integrated care. In a world that has evolved immensely fast over the last 20 years and with the pace of change set to increase it is paramount that vendor and supplier selection is made with this in mind. Selecting suppliers that can bring new perspectives and support the NHS and Partner with them to develop solutions to head off the challenges to come. As opposed to agreeing long term contracts with vendors that can only just solve today's challenge and will refuse to operate openly and transparently with your other systems and vendors. Thus destroying any opportunity for your Trust to innovate and develop as the STP & ICS Plans progress.
It's no secret that the demand for staffing and resourcing in the NHS has been a high priority of organisations in recent years. With the ICS projects rapidly progressing across the country, it will become a critical challenge that requires the correct solutions. To supplement existing headcount it will be imperative that all NHS Organisations adapt and secure an engaged, committed flexible workforce that operates on a system-wide basis. Failure in this area will be catastrophic to recruitment and retention programs and the wider organisation as a whole. As with the wider U.K workforce, more and more healthcare staff seek flexible working options, improved terms & conditions, work-life balance, and professional development.
NHS services need to seek partners and providers that offer solutions that can easily be embedded and are interoperable with other systems across the organisation and wider service area.
This should be an essential requirement for vendor selection. Making interoperability a key essential requirement in any potential contract will ensure maximum value for the NHS and provide the foundation for unleashing the true potential of a digitised health service. From AI & Analytics, workforce & roster management platforms to device connectivity. If the chosen systems do not interoperate, organisations will quickly notice they are falling further behind those organisations who have installed that capacity. Becoming under greater strain, starting to burn through budget at an alarming rate and most importantly dealing with greater workforce challenges as teams begin to look for organisations with better-managed workflows and improved working conditions.
With full appreciation of the complexities and challenges the health service is facing in this area; My advice is for those organisations to seek partners and advisors that can bring new ideas and perspectives to your discussions. Do this as early as possible in your process as all too often in many areas of our working lives and respective professions we operate in silos with little knowledge of the wider array of superior solutions. It's paramount we find a new way of working or we may find many organisations are the Blockbusters in a Netflix era.
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Sales Director - Circular Wave