The latest swathe of reforms to health and social care are steps in the journey to moving care from hospital to home and focusing on the person at home, pivoting from an illness management to wellness-promoting system. With virtual care, redesigned person-centric services and increased use of monitoring drive this reformed vision.

When contemplating how recent health and care sector reforms improve patient outcomes, the ‘how’ should be asked only once it is confirmed that the sector reforms are at the very least capable of improving patient outcomes. The treacherous road of analysis, research papers and a vast array of policies, academic rhetoric and global dictates lay ahead in exploration of what appears a relatively simple question. Here this author decided to cast the net in another direction taking a more person-centric approach to answering the question posed, how will it help people?

The Psychology Behind Instilling a Sense of Home clearly points to the importance of this concept as a crucial determinant of our wellbeing. This revolves around the self-preserving instincts that we possess, the ones that long for security and satisfaction. For most this is a sense of home in whatever form that may take.

The movie industry reflects the great power of home as a theme, billions of pounds hang on audiences connecting with the protagonist’s desire to either protect the home or return to it. The Martian desperate to survive long enough to get home or the Incredible Journey of those brave pets, connecting with even the most cynical viewer, as obstacles are overcome through the epic trek homeward. Advertisers have used the power of home to draw us in and our language is riddled with reference to home being a healthy place to be with phrases such as home sweet home or home advantage.

This draws us to conclude that the concept of home is a place of safety where at the very least social and psychological healing may occur and wellness may grow. Surely it is not too far a leap, without the aid of deeply researched evidence that, when clinically safe to do so, the physical wellbeing of a person must be positively influenced by being at home. If for no other reason than every other aspect of their wellbeing is positively impacted.

Recent sector reforms, as laid out in the June 2022 policy paper A plan for digital health and social care and following on from abundant changes such as the formation of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), are looking to manage place-based care. These include the increased use of technology to support the expansion of health and care services into our homes with virtual wards along with home-based monitoring driven from a shared record. All this is overlaid with increased citizen engagement.

All roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes, but in this instance all reforms lead to home. The single biggest feature of all these changes is the absolute determination to keep a person at home.

Looking back at the initial question around whether recent sector reforms will improve outcomes, if so, then this author’s view is a clear and resounding ‘yes’.

How this may be achieved is equally clear - keep us at home through the ICS working with shared data, get us home quickly and safely with virtual wards and help us stay at home through monitoring. These are the three things the reforms will bring that will improve a person’s outcomes.


Originally posted on techUK as part of their #DigitalPlace week