So what does ‘good’ actually look like as commissioners and providers recognise and seize the opportunities of an outcome based commissioning approach. Well, it will invariable look and mean different things to different people across the health economy. Most importantly for those receiving care it must mean that care is truly transformed and reflects their needs and preferences. An opportunity not to be missed to truly put citizen outcomes at the heart of everything we do.
Take for example older people. Our fragmented health and care system is not meeting their needs. Often they suffer problems with co-ordination of care and delays in transitions between services. We need whole system changes at scale to get where we need to be…a cliché, but accurate all the same, we need the right care being delivered at the right time, in the right place, and that recognises what matters to most to patients.
For older people this means they are helped to be healthy and active (physically, psychologically, and socially), are as independent as possible in the best place for them. When they are in need of care it is safe and effective, that they have a good experience and are treated with respect and dignity. Getting to ‘good’ means that care will need to be responsive, proactive and holistic. And that there is a clear understanding of how their care and support works. That older people know what their options are for what happens next and that services are joined up without waste and duplication.
It is clear that transforming services for older people requires a fundamental shift towards care that is co-ordinated around the full range of an individual’s needs, and care that truly prioritises prevention and support for maintaining independent living for as long as possible.
‘Good’ will only be good, when patient defined outcomes are met. The opportunity for commissioners and providers exists. It’s time now to take it.