Circle Insights

How do ICBs successfully prepare for future changes in costing?

Susan Brooks

Integrated care boards (ICBs) were born to bring the NHS together locally to improve population health and establish and achieve shared strategic priorities. Although ICBs are vital to the future delivery and improvement of healthcare systems, their introduction has not been without hurdles.  

Earlier this year, NHS England challenged ICBs to reduce their running costs by at least 20% in 2024/25 and 30% by 2025/26. This comes with heightened challenges of digital and data not being prioritised at board level in most areas, with only 38% of ICBs having an Executive Director focused on digital, data or intelligence 

With fast-approaching deadlines to meet, what can ICBs do to cut costs no matter the comprehension level of digital or data?  

Where can ICBs make savings?

Reallocating & distributing funding

To supply optimal patient level care, ICBs must be equipped with an optimal patient level costing solution. Now more than ever, it is critical for ICBs to work with NHS providers to create a single view of population and personal health and collect and utilise high-quality data to drive cost efficiencies. ICS leaders remain concerned about funding available for patient treatments and recognise that this is essential to uphold the sector’s productivity. NHS funding has always been focused on treating single acute illnesses and single chronic conditions or injuries rather than preventing them. It is now more focused on treating the whole patient and considering the prevention agenda.  

To direct patient treatment funding to the most effective setting, ICBs must innately understand the cost of each patient pathway across all settings in the system.

Organising critical data for optimal use 

When it comes to organising critical data, it is integral that ICBs have a strong working relationship with local governments, providers and the VCFSE sector to faciliate this. A framework of data sharing standards should also be developed to achieve enhanced interoperability and data sharing across organisational barriers to further encourage cost efficiencies.

Third-party support to meet priorities and achieve strategic objectives

ICBs unite stakeholders across the healthcare sector to address immediate and long-term priorities and challenges to improve health outcomes. Effectively addressing this requires ICBs to enhance their self-sufficiency and self-improving systems by working with the NHS and third-party partners to develop robust shareable models and fine-tune skills locally. Considering this, ICB leaders are continuously seeking out new opportunities ways to leverage system providers skillsets and contributions, and remain positive about system providers’ commitment and contribution. Increased self-sufficiency and self-improvement will also free up NHS funding for ICBs to better address priorities and challenges. 

Data sharing

While ICSs exist because of collaboration and partnerships between their providers, sharing usable data between the providers isn’t straightforward. If ICBs could safely and securely share data, connect data and run true system data analysis from required data sources, they would be able to accelerate their work in various activities from improving patient and staff care and outcomes to optimising the productivity of the wider health and care system at cost.

Delivering training & knowledge sharing opportunities

ICBs have been strongly encouraged to enhance their existing peer review processes to allow for inter-ICS benchmarking, best practice sharing and accountability strengthening to drive cost efficiencies. NHS Trust leaders have felt incredibly positive about ICBs’ role in fostering a sense of shared responsibility and collective endeavour among system partners, their collective problem-solving abilities and their sharing of practices on patient care and outcomes are key to future system and healthcare improvements.  

Making the future of costings successful with CACI

Although the journey towards cost efficiencies for ICBs undoubtedly comes with hurdles to jump, CACI’s expert team are equipped with the necessary industry knowledge and experience in data transformation to support and enable a revolutionary journey to a successful SMART result.  

To find out how we can help prepare your ICB for a successful journey, please contact one of our experts, Susan Brooks. 

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Susan Brooks