Circle Opinion

Managing patient data to guide you in the new ICS landscape

Susan Brooks

How NHS organisations can prepare to access and contribute to a powerful pool of insight that will help them meet local needs better than ever before

When the new ICS framework rolls out, predicted for summer 2022, it should enable healthcare providers and bodies across the NHS to collaborate better than ever before, with a shared goal of providing improved patient care across the board. By moving away from fragmentation and competition, NHS services should be able to consider patient needs and pathways holistically and offer the best locally targeted overall care from a range of specialisms and organisations in a more coordinated and efficient way.

We have a real opportunity with the formation of the ICSs to change how we use data to better coordinate care and re-design our service based on the needs of our citizens… It’s a really exciting time to work in the NHS.
Ayub Bhayat, Director of insight and data platform at NHS England and NHS Improvement

NHS leaders and healthcare teams are excited about the opportunity to smash silos and break through frustrating organisational barriers to work more effectively together in this new, collaborative culture. But they’ll need the right information and tools for shared decision-making. That means bringing together data that was formerly held separately and unleashing its full potential as part of a comprehensive system of healthcare insight.

What should NHS organisations do to make sure they’re playing their part and will have access to the data and analytics they need to deliver excellent outcomes as part of their ICS?

Trusts and healthcare bodies will need to be certain they can share data securely and effectively. They’ll need systems that can bring together disparate data in actionable formats, so it can be compared and analysed at patient and pathway level. They’ll need reporting tools and dashboards that reveal insight to underpin operational and investment decisions, as well as to track the success of initiatives. They’ll need to continuously augment data, so planning and collaboration keep pace with real-time community and service needs.

Every ICS will have its own priorities, reflecting what the local community needs in terms of NHS care across the board. Different data and analysis will be needed to plan the best collaborative service provision in every area.

The overall vision is exciting, but to achieve it, organisations must identify practical steps to move from where they are today with their own data to the collaborative ICS data ecosystem. There’s an opportunity to exploit new and proven technology that manages and harnesses data to produce advanced, relevant and detailed insight.

We recommend a systematic approach to assessing where your organisation currently stands and how you can evolve your data strategy to achieve the best outcomes in an ICS. In CACI’s digital healthcare knowledge model HISC (Healthcare Insight Success Cycle), we’ve developed Discovery tools and processes that help NHS organisations do exactly that:

  •  Describe and assess your current data strategy, systems and approach
  •  Define your future data direction and destination as part of an ICS
  •  Review your data security, storage and infrastructure
  •  Build a strategy and roadmap for data insight that will improve clinical and operational delivery and performance in the ICS framework
  •  Build a business case to connect investment in insight with tangible outcomes

CEO of NHS Confederation Matthew Taylor said in March 2022 that the use of high quality, real-time population health data will help “to shift from a system that responds to demand to a system that genuinely responds to need”, and that the NHS’ implementation of Integrated Care Systems (ICS) has the potential to “help create that enabling environment” needed to leverage data effectively.

Ruth Holland, deputy chief information officer at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, went even further: “ICS’ will stand and fall on their data capability in ten years’ time. I would sternly encourage digital and data leaders to look at the costings you are putting into plans [for staff and skills] that will support the ambition.”

CACI’s specialist healthcare technology team has the experience and knowledge to support your organisation with planning and delivering an ICS data transformation programme, including training and skills transfer for your staff.

If you’d like to find out more about CACI’s HISC model for optimising NHS healthcare data, download our brochure Spearheading your data journey to improve patient outcomes. It describes in more detail how you can take action to activate data insight to reshape health and social care in an ICS.

To find out more visit our website or speak to an NHS data consultant about the results we’ve helped other organisations achieve, please get in touch with our NHS client team.

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Susan Brooks