Advancements in healthcare practices are helping us all to live longer, but we’re not necessarily reaching old age in good health. As the population ages, it’s no secret that health care systems and workforces are struggling. With another harsh winter already upon us and macro-economic factors placing unprecedented strain on the NHS, and those responsible for delivering it, it’s time to tackle the situation head-on by ditching the barriers between public and private and helping the NHS to engage with effective solutions.
We need to embrace active collaboration, opening an ecosystem of skills and resources that will support public services and the purse that pays for them. The first step to achieving this is to change the perception that involving the private sector in healthcare is the equivalent of privatisation, a transactional relationship where big business is only focused on taking its cut. Instead, private sector partnerships need to be re-envisioned as a two-way street that can protect the future of health and care in the public sector. Every industry can benefit from insourcing specialist skills and working with other providers to supplement the resources it lacks.
Using collaboration to create a more cohesive health care system
There are too many different ways of doing things, too many silos and ordinary citizens perceive public services are connected and should be working better for them. It’s time to urgently explore how to reshape and redesign Health and Social Care through whole system thinking. The private sector, academia, voluntary and third sectors all need a seat at the table, bringing their expertise and experience to bear on creating a health and care system that drives better outcomes, efficiency and sustainability. Expanding and utilising collaborative investments and innovation will ensure we all see greater returns – both financially and in terms of the population’s health, jobs, skills and the economy.
Across the finance, retail, cyber security and energy sectors, we’ve already seen how impactful and transformational these collaborations can be. Drawing from these relationships, we can better understand how to increase capacity, reduce waste, transform services, empower people, reduce cost to serve, and support professionals at all levels to engage with the most rewarding aspects of their roles. And with these measures in place, the NHS will be in a better position to turn its savings and efficiencies into value-based healthcare investments that boost innovation and safeguard the long-term sustainability of health and care services.
Revolutionising care by openly working together
By creating a community that enables, empowers and supports, the TSA – the industry and advisory body for technology-enabled care (TEC) – is a prime example of this positive form of collaboration. Bringing together the insights of leading industry experts, individual service users and front-line NHS staff, it’s an initiative that effectively disseminates the most acute challenges being faced on the front line, as well as the latest innovative new approaches helping to solve these challenges nationwide.
To help health and care professionals to create successful collaborative relationships, it is worth disseminating the Quadruple Helix model, a dynamic framework that unites university-industry-government-public-environment interactions to shape a brighter future. This model has such significant potential because it transcends the limitations of any one sector, recognising the immense value of each and pooling our collective expertise, resources, and passions.
Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at the University College London, details the transformative success that can come out of public-private collaboration in her book ‘The Entrepreneurial State’. This book debunks the “Public Sector versus Private Sector” myth and dispels notions that the public sector is slower and less dynamic than the private sector. With the right levels of collaboration, public sector organisations have been some of the boldest and most valuable risk-takers of all, working with private sector achieve major medical breakthroughs.
Enhancing innovation, delivery and public sector empowerment
Looking at digitalisation specifically, private sector partners can contribute expertise in software development, cyber security, and data analytics, to enable the seamless exchange of patient information and the provision of e-services such as e-prescriptions and digital medical records. It’s a collaborative model that can be scaled across the country and by uniting academia, the private, public, voluntary and third sectors it can create a seismic shift in public sector health and care.
Combining knowledge, expertise, and passion fuels innovations that can help us overcome the most daunting healthcare challenges. Together, we can blaze new trails, pioneer ground-breaking solutions, and usher in an era of unparalleled advancement.
Enhancing healthcare outcomes
Collaboration is the key to unlocking a healthcare system that hums with efficiency and compassion. By pooling resources and insights, we can optimise care pathways, streamline processes, and implement evidence-based interventions that revolutionise health and care delivery starting at Home First. This will in turn improve patient outcomes, enhance quality of care, and create a system that embraces the evolving needs of our population and improves their health.
Create a movement through a digital foundation
We often hear the term digital first, and digital transformation being a barrier, risk or concern. The truth is that as every other industry has evolved into being digitally enabled, it was driven by an urgent need, risk or the requirement to secure financial sustainability and relevance. Those companies (think banks) had to change and so redesigned services based on human behaviour, culture and the evolution of technology generally.
Health and Care in the UK can’t handle a big bang digital first approach, it needs to embrace the digital natives and establish solid and secure digital foundations, building on capabilities already present and extending to build a strong, efficient and easy to engage system. In doing so, it will create ambassadors for digital engagement and self-serve which will offer a faster and more effective service and free up in-person, hands-on care when it is appropriate. Have you ever seen the Lone Nut video on YouTube? We need someone to be bold enough to stand up and dance to create a movement!
Empowering the individual
People want to reclaim ownership of their health and wellbeing. By involving them in decision-making, providing access to health information, and coaching them to think differently about how they use NHS and publicly provided care service assets, collaborative partnerships can help individuals become the true champions of their own health - placing less strain on NHS and Local Authority resources.
Make it safe to change
Politically, we need long-term, joined-up thinking about systems and workforces. We must allow the system to evolve and transform, to fail fast and succeed iteratively. Health and care staff and service users are ready for change, so we must empower those who know where the problems are to be part of a collaborative solution.
Collaboration: our best route to a healthier future
Embracing the collaborative Quadruple Helix model at scale offers our best chance for a healthier future. This means creating an open community with an ethical and committed focus on the problems the health and care sector is facing and the outcomes they need. We need to remove barriers, encourage competitors to partner for the greater good and build bridges that can enable all parties to come together openly and fairly to enhance innovation, compassion, and progress.
Collaboration is central to our work at CGI, and we’re already building an ecosystem of partners to help propel public sector health and care in the UK, creating a legacy of improved healthcare delivery and enhanced well-being for generations to come.
We go further and faster when we work together.
This blog was inspired by an article published on LinkedIn by Justene Ewing in November 2023.
Find out more about CGI in health and care.