Accountable Care Systems
In June, Simon Stevens announced the creation of eight new Accountable Care Systems (ACS), which will have a combined potential to control around £450m of funding over the next four years. The intention appears to be to transform STPs into ACS– and ultimately some into Accountable Care Organisations (ACO).
So what exactly are Accountable Care Systems?
Put simply, the ACS will aim to find new ways of breaking down barriers between organisations to provide a more joined-up approach to delivering healthcare, hospital care, mental health care and social care services to better meet the needs of people locally. Two of their most significant defining characteristics are that they will need to (NHS England: Integrating care locally):
- Demonstrate how their provider organisations will operate on a horizontally integrated basis, whether virtually or through actual mergers, for example, having ‘one hospital on several sites’ through clinically networked service delivery.
- Demonstrate how they will simultaneously also operate as a vertically integrated care system, partnering with local GP practices formed into clinical hubs serving 30,000-50,000 populations. In every case this will also mean a new relationship with local community and mental health providers as well as health and social services.
In practice: the role of technology
Central to delivering more joined up care will be the use of a Single Point of Access (SPA ) – fulfilling both physical and virtual components of horizontal and vertical integration.
The SPA will perform an important administrative, and in some cases clinical, function to work up and direct referrals or cases. In addition, it will act as an important point of contact for patients – in doing so improving people’s experience of care.
For ACO or STP leaders, finding a cost-effective way to implement and run a SPA will be critical. Success will depend largely on leadership and structure, but undoubtedly software will perform an integral role. As we move towards an ACS model, leaders ought to consider a software solution that can deliver the following:
- Integration with other systems in the health environment, including NHS e-Referral service
- Automatic validation of referrals or cases, ensuring correct documentation is provided and completed, with alerts where something may have been missed
- Detection of referral or case reason, enabling automatic assignment to correct team or service
- Sophisticated reporting, contributing to the risk stratification of patients
psHEALTH have spent years fine-tuning software solutions to assist service providers, referral facilitation services and SPAs with the management of referrals or cases.
By leveraging automation techniques and intelligent rules, we’ve enabled our customers to focus on the areas of greatest priority – safe in the knowledge that majority of referrals can be processed as required without intervention.