The integration of healthcare services in England plays a major part in the NHS’ Long Term Plan to provide improved services within the sector.

​​Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) are collaborations between NHS bodies, local authorities and other relevant organisations that meet health and care needs.

This blog will discuss the importance of ICPs, the challenges they bring, how medical innovation can improve services and how we can make the most of the opportunities medical technology can bring.

Why Do We Need Integrated Care Partnerships?

Integrated care partnerships bring NHS providers, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs), local authorities and voluntary sectors together to plan and organise how healthcare services are delivered in their area. This integrated structure is put into place to improve services in each region based on demographics and community needs.  

As of May 2022, there are currently 42 ICPs across England and each covers a population size of approximately one to three million. Once fully implemented by law, this will lead to increased regional management of health and social care, providing more authoritative flexibility to reflect the needs of residents on a local level. 

Once the Government’s Health and Care Bill is implemented, ICPs will be legal bodies and will have more responsibility for funding, performance and population health. This will make the adoption of innovative technology a local decision and, therefore, a decisive one.


The Opportunities of Medical Innovation

In recent years, medical technology has evolved to provide more automated and process led technology for clinicians and patients. It was estimated that the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) worldwide market growth is expected to reach $405 billion by 2026. The rise of IoT technology in the medical sector can provide solutions that reduce time-consuming processes and increase productivity. 

Examples include data migration tools, management tracking applications and remote consultations that help with time and productivity. With the power of this new technology, doctors can now access digitised medical records for environmental benefit as well as improved security and patient experience.

These benefits will be particularly effective in an integrated care partnership structure. System integration architecture can help ensure the transition is seamless. Here are some benefits innovation can bring integrated care partnerships:

  • Keeping care connected: With many different departments under the same umbrella, it is important admin and medical staff can sync their information for efficient communication. Cloud technology systems can make this sensitive information accessible and secure. 
  • Faster clinician experience: Automated data applications such as Digital ID sign-ins can speed up waiting times, registration processes and appointment capacity. This makes medical staff across ICPs more focused on completing high priority tasks.
  • Effective cyber security across the system: An ICP covers many different sectors and systems. Cyber security will need to be increased, particularly over email. With an automated anti-virus system in place, staff can access sensitive information and gain authorised access to their work area — without the risk of security breaches.

Overcoming Accessibility Challenges

Integrated care requires a lot of planning and the correct use of technology to be implemented successfully. 

  • Personalising services: Cohesive governance, resources, planning and digital patient records need to be built around individual needs to improve health outcomes and equality of access. 
  • Clarifying what this technology is for: It is important that integrated care partnerships effectively manage the differences in technology within each sector and know how to utilise it for optimal results. Individual hospitals and even departments within a hospital have bought software solutions to support their clinical needs without the accessibility for data linkages and joint working.
  • Allocating technology based on need: Another challenge arises when considering where this innovative technology will be allocated within an ICP. Dividing up technology based on costs can be ineffective and must be based on current resources and demand as a matter of priority.

Making the Most of Automated Technology

As ICPs are now becoming a legislative standard in England, more process-led technology must be introduced equally to systems in all regions. Innovation in medical technology can reduce time, in-person admittance and speed up patient recovery, but its availability relies on securing and allocating funding. 

As the coronavirus pandemic led to more technological innovation than ever before with life-saving ventilators and testing capabilities, organisations within integrated care partnerships should take advantage of the technology available across the region. 

With automated technology available at the point of care for both clinicians and patients, the transition to ICPs can allow organisations and NHS bodies to have access to the most valuable technology available to improve services.


Want to Explore the Full Potential of Medical Technology?

In the face of new challenges coming from the ICP transition, it is vital to bring together the digital health community to discuss how organisations within the NHS can use innovative medical technology to its full potential. 

At the event, we will discuss the future of integrated care services at HETT Show and what it means for current services.

Register for your free place at the HETT show 2022 to find out more.

Register Today

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