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Critical success factors

We talked to NHS trusts and other UK organisations as well as private healthcare organisations overseas to understand and share what they thought were the critical success factors for developing networked care.

The list we provide is from these conversations and is not exhaustive. While all considerations below are valid, everyone we spoke to cited the staff as most critical for the success of any service development.

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The first group we spoke to were clinical and managerial representatives from more than 18 healthcare organisations about what they saw as critical to a successful network.

  • Excellent staff who are able to work well at a distance but who know when to escalate.
  • Organisational buy-in: a clear, strategic narrative on the purpose of your network is required and may need to change as your network evolves.
  • Professional buy-in: do your consultants believe in your network model and do they support each individual venture?
  • Choice of partner: be clear on the terms of your relationship
    and align your understanding of what a successful partnership will look like.
  • An understanding of the health needs of the population you are seeking to serve and the expectations of those who commission/purchase care.
  • The importance of reputation: identify red lines to protect your brand.
  • A well thought-out management structure with clear lines of responsibility, communication, reporting and escalation.
  • Standardised processes with tightly controlled variation to ensure consistent quality.critical-success-factors-picture
  • Excellent links between sites and the centre to spread learning.
  • A central learning and development team who move between sites.
  • A values-based culture, embodied by strong leadership.
  • Clear agreements with host sites.
  • Excellent remote connections and systems.

We thought it was also important to know what assurance trust boards would need that a networked care model was delivering the required improvements. To understand this, we commissioned 25 board level executive interviews.

Their observations included:

  • standardisation across the network is key but hard to deliver consistently.
  • balancing network standardisation and local flexibility to support innovation is challenging.
  • collating data across the network in a meaningful way is important but complex.
  • there is a complexity of relationships with multiple commissioners and host organisations.

In non-networked hospitals executives would expect to see evidence of:

  • the maintenance or improvement of clinical quality.
  • good patient experience.
  • transparent clinical governance.
  • service standardisation.
  • a better range of services.

Existing networked care provider executives said their regular assurance processes looked for evidence of:

  • direct support of the trust’s strategy/objectives.
  • the right experience and care for patients.
  • greater organisational resilience, for example contributing to overheads and the bottom line, increased skill base, increased catchment and market, increased influence and reputation.