Transforming Health and Social Care Services across Tees Valley District with the Single Point of Access Solution
Nowcomm has been working in partnership with local authorities and the NHS within the Tees Valley District to improve the delivery of health and social care services to the community as required by the Care Act (2014).
Two key aims of the Act are to:
1) Reduce the time spent by people in hospitals through better-coordinated community care.
2) Increase the proportion of older people living independently at home following discharge from the hospitals.
The project, under the title of “Single Point of Access (SPA)”, was commissioned by the South Tees Integration Programme Board (STIPB). The STIPB is made up of 5 partner organisations within the district including South Tees Hospital, South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Middlesbrough Council. The core objectives of the Single Point of Access project were to reduce the number of people being admitted into residential care and nursing homes and to prevent people from being readmitted into hospital care following discharge. The National Target for South Tees was to reduce the total emergency hospital admissions by 3.5%. The project brings together professionals from each partner organisation into one building so that healthcare professionals can get access to health and/or social care services through one unified access point instead of navigating through several different access points to get information about essential healthcare services and auctioning the right care to an individual’s needs.
Nowcomm’s team of senior engineering specialists, led by Co-founder James Baly, worked with NHS Project Manager Marion Walker and IT Manager Kevin Coates to design and build a secure single common infrastructure for each of the five stakeholder organisations, including the backend integration required for each of the stakeholder’s existing infrastructure. Nowcomm achieved the above through the design and implementation of Cisco ISE and Cisco advanced routing technology practices. A shared contact centre was built on top of this infrastructure to facilitate quicker and clearer communication, through the deployment of Cisco Contact Centre and Cisco Unified Communications software (CUCM and CUCX). This new SPA Contact centre provided by Nowcomm now receives inbound calls from 35 access points across the local community, including GPs, healthcare professionals and citizens/ These calls are routed directly to the Social Care and Health Service call handlers for triage to provide immediate resolution if possible or otherwise assess and assign the level of urgency and priority of the issue. If calls cannot be resolved and completed at this triage stage, the call handler can now directly connect with the appropriate resource, regardless of the organisation, this resource belongs to, such as to a qualified social worker, an integrated community therapists or a qualified nurse. All resources can liaise across the pool of community service provider resource to complete activities, update case records and provision appropriate services at the point of need, including enablement and onward referral to specialist services. These developments are part of the Phase-1 build-out of the Single Point of Access project for the Tees Valley District, the Phase-2 developments are currently being planned to include additional functionality to the infrastructure to further widen the benefits to the citizens of the region.
1) The Single Point of Access project enables the right support to be provided at the right time across a range of health and social care services.
2) It facilitates hospital discharge and reduces duplication and provides the right support so the patient can go home quickly and safely. By integrating the services around the needs of the person, services can work together to take ownership of a care plan until an appropriate provider has been identified so that everything is in one place.
3) The call handlers who receive the initial calls have direct access to multiple healthcare systems so can streamline information gathering, without referring to different organisations, therefore reducing time and resource wastage and eliminating inefficient referral processes.
The National Healthcare Service is under huge strain from stretched budgets and resources, due to an increasing need to access healthcare by the growing UK population. This has taken a toll on the quality of service delivered by healthcare professionals causing undue stress to both hospital staff and patients. Single Point of Access enables the South Tees Integration Programme Board to alleviate this stress by ensuring that those with specific needs receive the appropriate stakeholder service. This results in fewer people being admitted to the hospital and ensuring the right community services are available to people from the outset and at each on-going point of need, reducing the amount to time people are kept in hospital, ultimately reducing the pressure on available beds and therefore hospital waiting times for patients.
Nowcomm has been working very closely with the North East STIPB to ensure the successful delivery and execution of this project.
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