Integrated care systems and patient insight

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As the health and social care system moves towards greater integration, the people best placed to tell us whether it is working are those it serves.

New integrated care systems (ICSs) offer an opportunity for health and social care systems to think differently about how they collect, listen to and act on insight and feedback from users and patients.

This work aims to develop ways for ICSs to listen to and work with patients and users – and to make this essential to how they work.

What have we done so far?

Last year, NHS England commissioned The King’s Fund to speak with national and local leaders responsible for collecting and using patient insight, as well as thought leaders in this field. This was accompanied by a literature review, exploring initiatives that might be taking an innovative approach to capturing insight and feedback. Finally, the emerging themes were tested at a roundtable on ideas for what might need to happen to make patient insight central to new ICSs. 

The key question for this work was:

‘What might an effective insight and feedback system look like for integrated care systems at both a local and national level?’

It was clear from this process that local areas see the value of engaging their populations to develop better services. However, there is a question about the extent to which areas are doing this and whether this work is a priority. 

The key findings of this initial stage were as follows.

  • While the NHS collects a huge amount of insight and feedback, it does not do enough to interpret and act on what it learns. 
  • The advent of ICSs represents an opportunity for the NHS to think differently about how it collects and uses insight and feedback data.   
  • There is an opportunity to improve understanding of people’s experiences across pathways of care, with partners working together on what they learn from their users.
  • There are questions about capacity and capability in new systems. 

Our long read expands on these points.

What are we doing now?

Following the initial work, The King’s Fund is now working with NHS England to observe and support six local areas as they develop work on patient insight: 

  • Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes
  • Dorset
  • Frimley
  • North West London
  • Surrey Heartlands
  • West Yorkshire.

We are working with these areas on patient insight and feedback projects they are interested in and that are based around their strategic priorities. These projects include a range of different ways of listening to patients, from measuring their experience across a pathway of care to collecting views on how a health system should develop. As well as providing expertise and practical support, we are also observing the progress of these sites and documenting the different approaches the sites are taking.

We will publish a report on our work, including interviews with key individuals in each site, in the first half of 2020.