Coping with more people with more illness. Part 2: new generation of standards for enabling healthcare system transformation and sustainability

International Journal for Quality in Health Care, Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2019, Pages 159–163

In Part 2 of this two-part contribution made on behalf of the Innovation and Systems Change Working Group of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), we continue the argument for refashioning health systems in response to ageing and other pressures. Massive ageing in many countries and accompanying technological, fiscal and systems changes are causing the tectonic plates of healthcare to shift in ways not yet fully appreciated.

In response, while things remain uncertain, we nevertheless have to find ways to proceed. We propose a strategy for stakeholders to pursue, of key importance and relevance to the ISQua: to harness flexible standards and external assessment in support of needed change. Depending on how they are used, healthcare standards and accreditation can promote, or hinder, the changes needed to create better healthcare for all in the future. Standards should support people’s care needs across the life cycle, including prevention and health promotion. New standards that emphasise better coordination of care, those that address the entire healthcare journey and standards that reflect and predict technological changes and support new models of care can play a part. To take advantage of these opportunities, governance bodies, external assessment agencies and other authorities will need to be less prescriptive and better at developing more flexible standards that apply to the entire health journey, incorporating new definitions of excellence and acceptability. The ISQua welcomes playing a leadership role.

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Coping with more people with more illness. Part 1: the nature of the challenge and the implications for safety and quality

International Journal for Quality in Health Care, Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2019, Pages 154–158

Health systems are under more pressure than ever before, and the challenges are multiplying and accelerating. Economic forces, new technology, genomics, AI in medicine, increasing demands for care—all are playing a part, or are predicted to increasingly do so. Above all, ageing populations in many parts of the world are exacerbating the disease burden on the system and intensifying the requirements to provide effective care equitably to citizens.

In this first of two companion articles on behalf of the Innovation and Systems Change Working Group of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), in consultation with representatives from over 40 countries, we assess this situation and discuss the implications for safety and quality. Health systems will need to run ahead of the coming changes and learn how to cope better with more people with more chronic and acute illnesses needing care. This will require collective ingenuity, and a deep desire to reconfigure healthcare and re-engineer services. Chief amongst the successful strategies, we argue, will be preventative approaches targeting both physical and psychological health, paying attention to the determinants of health, keeping people at home longer, experimenting with new governance and financial models, creating novel incentives, upskilling workforces to fit them for the future, redesigning care teams and transitioning from a system delivering episodic care to one that looks after people across the life cycle. There are opportunities for the international community to learn together to revitalise their health systems in a time of change and upheaval.

Trans-disciplinary advanced allied health practitioners for acute hospital inpatients: a feasibility study

International Journal for Quality in Health Care, Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2019, Pages 103–109

To explore cost-efficiency, safety and acceptability of trans-disciplinary advanced allied health (AH) practitioners for acute adult general medicine inpatients.

Design: Quasi-experimental feasibility study.
Setting: Three acute general medical units in an Australian urban hospital.
Participants: Two hundred and fifty-six acute hospital inpatients.
Main Outcome Measures: Cost-efficiency measures included AH service utilization and length of stay (LOS). Patient outcomes were functional independence, discharge destination, adverse events, unplanned admissions within 28 days, patient satisfaction and quality of life data on admission, and 30 days post-discharge. Ward staff were surveyed regarding satisfaction with the service model, and advanced health practitioners (AHPs) rated their confidence in their own ability to meet the performance standards of the role.
Results:Patients allocated to AHPs (n = 172) received 0.91 less hours of AH intervention (adjusted for LOS) (95% confidence intervals (CI): −1.68 to −0.14; P = 0.02) and had 1.76 days shorter LOS relative to expected (95%CI: 0.18–3.34; P = 0.03) compared with patients receiving standard AH (n = 84). There were no differences in patient outcomes or satisfaction. AHPs demonstrated growth in job satisfaction and skill confidence.
Conclusions: Trans-disciplinary advanced AH roles may be feasible and cost-efficient compared with traditional roles for acute general medical inpatients. Further development of competency frameworks is recommended.

Closing the gap: Key areas for action on the health and care workforce

Closing the gap: Key areas for action on the health and care workforce

Workforce

  • Staffing is the make-or-break issue for the NHS in England. Workforce shortages are already having a direct impact on patient care and staff experience.
  • Urgent action is now required to avoid a vicious cycle of growing shortages and declining quality. The workforce implementation plan to be published later this year presents a pivotal opportunity to do this.
  • This report sets out a series of policy actions that, evidence suggests, should be at the heart of the workforce implementation plan.
  • They will require investment of an extra £900 million per year by 2023/24 into the budget of Health Education England.
  • Recognising the close interrelationship between the NHS and social care, the report also recommends a series of policy changes to improve recruitment and retention in social care.

Good nurse leadership linked to safer outcomes

NIHR | March 2019 |Staffing on wards Making decisions about healthcare staffing,
improving effectiveness and supporting staff to care well

A major themed review from the NIHR- Staffing on wards Making decisions about healthcare staffing, improving effectiveness and supporting staff to care well– uses research from the NIHR to explore staffing on wards.  The review focuses  on staffing within 24-hour care inpatient facilities designed to provide health rather than social care. 

dc.nihr.ac.uk
Image source: dc.nihr.ac.uk

Staffing on wards Making decisions about healthcare staffing, improving effectiveness and supporting staff to care well identifies three challenges:

  1. Understanding ward staffing
  2. Shaping the team
  3. Managing the team and the ward

It presents recent evidence evidence from National Institute for Health Research
(NIHR)-funded research, including studies on the number of staff needed, the support workforce and the organisation of care on the wards.

Full details from NIHR 

Staffing on wards Making decisions about healthcare staffing, improving effectiveness and supporting staff to care well

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OnMedica  Good nurse leadership linked to safer outcomes