April 2020 - Collaborating in systems that are challenged

A blog highlighting how integrated care networks can aid collaboration in systems that are challenged during a pandemic.

Carol Read RN/MSc

There is radical change happening across the health and social care system which is pushing past previous barriers that appeared set in stone. Against this background are existing structures and networks which have been covered on the source for networks platform.  Malby (2020) provides in-depth knowledge of how integrated and primary care networks have developed and the difficulties they have faced trying to work in a more holistic and collaborative way.   There has been a top down approach applied to these structures previously, which has not enabled them to flourish.  To gain a quick overview of the rationale for integrated care networks our spotlight on the resources Read (2020) wil help.  This provides additional content alongside a comprehensive explanation of how primary care networks aim to solve existing problems.

This months blog seeks to review the integrated care systems that have developed previously, capture learning from the system and highlight how you can lead during a pandemic through a series of vlogs which provide a golden thread through the next six months content on the source4networks platform. 

When uncertainty becomes the 'new normal' how can healthcare systems flourish and support patients, citizens and people working within multiple organisations.  Covey (2020) coined the term 'change happens at the speed of trust'  and this digs deep into why we trust others in networks because we are connected around a purpose and know others individual's charactor, motivation, reliability and competence.  Trust is the glue that holds a living network together and builds reiliance.  When people trust each other it is easier to respond to change in a smart co-ordinated way, reduce bureaucracy and become more efficient in a network.  This can be seen throughout the UK as primary care networks respond to a range of challenges in the pandemic, locally this can be bringing the network together for common good, as this example of the Sarum South Primary Care Network shows.  Although individuals are working in different locations and with different people there is trust in the network to make the new systems and structures work sucessfully.

There are many ways to review your network at this time.  Start with the diagnostics page to provide a snapshot of your network, this is useful as a way to involve people remotely.  Consider the content added to the platform monthly for examples of good practice and how you can build trust within your networks.  Research has been included to underpin your learning around sytems leadership, integrated care and a collaborative leadership model alongside interviews and case studies.   Make the review a talking point with your networks, support them to feel included and part of the next steps you take in a brave new world.  

The content on the source4networks platform will build into a unique curated resource for your next steps in the COVID-19 pandemic and is applicable right across health and social care.  Each month a vlog will be released covering a different perspective of leadership during the pandemic which provides tangible insight from a network leader interviewed by Prof Becky Malby.  This can be used in discussion with your network to examine what possible changes to incorporate in your work.  Additional network strategies can be found here.  Throughout the platform we have incorporated both UK and international content to aid your practice.

Reviewing integrated care networks to date there have been numerous changes taking place and now is the time to understand what is working, what no longer works for the future and how your network can remain resilient.  Whilst for some of you this will be a time of pause before we come out of official lockdown, for others this may be the most busiest times you have ever experienced in healthcare.  Next month we build on the review work and look at how you can secure resilience in network partners and members.

It would be fantastic to hear via the network page and our twitter feed what is happening in your network and what would support your networks development going forward.