Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) can be integral to driving a joined up approach to perioperative care and improving health outcomes, a report has said.
The report by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCOA) recommended that ‘ensuring a patient is in the best possible condition for their operation, receives high quality care during surgery and is supported through to a full recovery’ should be viewed as one single objective.
It added that ICSs can be key in pioneering this. The report, A teachable moment: delivering perioperative medicine in integrated care systems, analysed the programmes adopted by the first wave of 10 ICSs across England, showing how the different integrated systems are ‘improving patient care before, during and after surgery’.
Providing more integrated care during the perioperative period – the time from preparation for to recovery from surgery – can improve long-term outcomes for patients, according to the RCOA report.
The report was commissioned in May 2018 to analyse the extent to which perioperative medicine was an area of focus as STPs began transforming into ICSs.
The authors hope the report will guide existing ICSs ‘to identify how best practice in perioperative medicine can be further embedded in their locality’ and work as a ‘blueprint’ for STPs transitioning to become ICSs.
In his foreword to the report, NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said:
‘By utilising the opportunities offered by the integration of services within the ICS model and embracing shared decision-making between healthcare professionals and their patients, a perioperative approach to care can improve health outcomes, help patients to get home from hospital sooner and reduces the risk of readmissions that put people back in hospital when it could have been avoided.’
He added that the report shows the ‘compatibility between new models of integrated care and the delivery of perioperative medicine’.
Professor Powis also encouraged all ICS leaders to read the report ‘and consider how a perioperative approach could improve patient care in their area’.
The report comes as NHS England announced that ICSs will cover all of England by April 2021, as part of the long term plan.
Commenting on the report, Professor Ravi Mahajan, president of the RCOA, said: ‘The best patient care is delivered as a team working collaboratively and we must use the national shift toward integrated care to ensure that we develop pathways of care that utilise everyone’s expertise at the opportune time.’