Delivering truly integrated care is one of three strategic directions in the NSW State Health Plan: Towards 2021.
With an ageing population and a growing number of people living with chronic or complex health conditions, people’s health needs are changing and demands on the health system are increasing. NSW Health is responding to these challenges by investing in new, innovative models of integrated care, transforming the health system to routinely deliver person-centred, seamless, efficient and effective care, particularly for people with complex, long term conditions.
What is integrated care?
Integrated care involves the provision of seamless, effective and efficient care that reflects the whole of a person’s health needs; from prevention through to end of life, across both physical and mental health, and in partnership with the individual, their carers and family. It requires greater focus on a person’s needs, better communication and connectivity between health care providers in primary care, community and hospital settings, and better access to community-based services close to home.
Who benefits from integrated care?
Integrated care can benefit anyone with health needs, but is particularly important for people with complex and long term conditions, helping them to manage their own health, keeping them healthy, independent and out of hospital for as long as possible. This includes people with chronic disease, frail elderly people, people with disability and those at the end of life.
NSW Integrated Care Strategy
The NSW Government has committed $180 million over six years to implement innovative, locally led models of integrated care across the State to transform the NSW healthcare system. The Integrated Care Strategy is across three closely related areas:
- Three Integrated Care Demonstrators: Central Coast, Western Sydney and Western NSW Local Health Districts which have begun to implement large scale integrated care initiatives in partnership with other sectors to join up services for local populations.
- The Innovators: All Local Health Districts and Specialty Health Networks that are not Demonstrators have been funded for local, discrete integrated care initiatives. Seventeen projects in total have been funded as Integrated Care Innovators.
- The Statewide Enablers for integrated care including the information structure such as HealtheNet - the information technology system that links patient information between hospitals and primary care and tools to support integrated care such as patient reported measures and risk stratification tools.
Three Integrated Care ‘Demonstrators’ – led by Western Sydney, Central Coast and Western NSW Local Health Districts – have been allocated funding from the NSW Government’s commitment of $180 million over six years to progress system-wide approaches for integrating care at a local level.
Demonstrators are working in partnership with Primary Health Networks and other health agencies in the primary care, not-for-profit and private sectors to develop and progress approaches to integrated care to address the coordination and provision of services for patients in full understanding of local factors.
Successful approaches to integrated care will be scaled up and rolled out across the State with regular forums to be organised to share learnings with all LHDs and Specialty Health Networks.
By pursuing a system-wide approach alongside a focus on local priorities, NSW Health aims to transform local health systems in a way that makes integrated care sustainable into the future.
Learn more about each of the Demonstrators:
Part of the $180 million NSW Government investment in new, innovative models of integrated care was allocated to a Planning and Innovation Fund to support discrete and innovative integrated care initiatives run by Local Health Districts and Specialty Health Networks with their partner organisations.
The Fund was tendered in 2014, with seventeen initiatives funded from across all Local Health Districts and Specialty Health Networks. The initiatives cross a wide range of themes, patient groups, geographical areas and partnership models.
Enabling integrated care statewide
A key focus of the NSW Integrated Care Strategy is delivering technology that connects different information technology systems and data across NSW and advocates for the use of more innovative technology to deliver improved patient experiences and outcomes, as well as better health service delivery for clinicians. This includes:
- The development of state-wide enablers, such as the continued rollout of HealtheNet
- Working with the Agency for Clinical Innovation to pilot Patient Reported Measures survey tools, which will enable patients to provide direct, timely feedback about their health-related outcomes and experiences, to drive improvement and integration of healthcare across NSW.
- Develop a statewide approach for active Shared Care Collaboration, including the support of Proof of Concept technology. This will guide Districts and Networks on the suitability of solutions and develop standards for adoption across NSW Health.
- Investigating technology that enables tracking of integrated care patients/cohorts, and potentially care activities, for patient identification, monitoring and evaluation purposes and improved outcomes.
Learn more about the eHealth Strategy, including integrated care