A few weeks ago I was trying to decide where to go on holiday.
Still bitter from a previous experience where I booked a hotel which promised paradise but then turned out to be more akin to a building site, this time I headed online. Using TripAdvisor I read reviews posted by previous guests, looked at the photos they had shared, and ultimately selected a fantastic hotel in Crete.
We all know that there are enormous benefits to be had learning from other people’s experiences, and that the digital age has vastly expanded our opportunities to access such learning.
From deciding where to go for dinner, to selecting an estate agent or choosing which car to buy, increasingly we go online to use other people’s experiences to help us make informed decisions.
Across health and social care we have been slow to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet, but this is now changing.
The Better Care Exchange is a new website which provides those involved with shaping, commissioning and delivering integrated care the opportunity to share our experiences and learn from one another.
A social media site with interactive forums covering topics such as information sharing, leadership and governance, and metrics and evaluation, the Better Care Exchange seeks to bring together into one single, easily accessible place all of the resources and learning related to integrated care.
We all know that integrated care is important; it allows us to focus holistically on the individual in order to provide them with better, personalised care. We also know that integrated care is hard; it is in no way easy to bring together organisations which have different experiences, practices, cultures and priorities.
The only way that we can successfully overcome the significant barriers to truly integrated care is by working together, sharing openly our experiences, ambitions, questions and fears. The Better Care Exchange offers us the chance to connect with colleagues nationally across health and social care sectors, to support one another and work collaboratively towards our shared goal of better care.
For example, one area has already shared a comprehensive evaluation framework outlining monitoring measures for citizen-centred care and care co-ordination. Other areas have been able to use these measures as real-time indicators of the progress being made, providing them with the evidence they need to continue pushing on with the changes being implemented.
I have no doubt that you too have a lot to teach us, so why not consider joining the Better Care Exchange, sharing your experiences and lessons learned? Help us to create a vibrant online community where the barriers to better care are slowly but surely dismantled.
Ann Radmore, programme director – better care fund, NHS England