How can the simple act of bringing people together help to improve population health?

We talk about collaboration a lot as an organisation, but what does this look like in real terms? How can the simple act of bringing people together help to improve population health around the world? Our content manager Tom Parnell joined a recent collaboration with the World Bank Poland to see how we’re helping to set an international agenda for innovation.

At Imperial College Health Partners we pride ourselves in our intelligent use of data; the ability to see the stories behind the stats and find ways to make impactful change in complex systems through our analysis.  But we also know that data is never the whole picture – every system, every change must be run and implemented by people – and only through shared knowledge and understand can we truly affect the changes we want to make. That is why, in early June, we extended an invite for a delegation of leaders from World Bank Poland and the Polish National Health Fund to join us in London for a series of knowledge-sharing sessions.

The World Bank is funding The Polish National Health fund’s work in setting up integrated care systems (ICSs) and they reached out to us, not just for our expertise and experience in data-led population health management, but also because we have already collaborated with several of the newly-emerging ICSs in England.

Katarzyna Wiktorzak, Project Manager of a coordinated project in primary care, at the National Health Fund in Poland, said: “We are currently working on developing a coordinated care model ready to be implemented on a larger scale in Poland.

“We would like to prepare ourselves in the best possible way for the analysis of data related to the implementation of the program, in order to draw the best conclusions.

“We hope that cooperation with ICHP, with such extensive experience in this area will help us achieve our goal.”

As well as sharing our population health management methodology, on the second day we were able to call on our colleagues Amanda Robinson, Program Manager at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System, and Daniel Leveson, Deputy Director of Strategy at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, to join the workshop, to share their experiences setting up ICSs in their areas.

Katarzyna said: “There was a very interesting selection of people present, from practitioners and analysts in the regions, to a comprehensive ICHP team.

“What interested us most is the combination of two types of activities: top down and bottom up, segmentation of patients in individual chronic diseases and the selection of appropriate indicators and expected outcomes.”

Rather than talk at our visitors, with continuous presentations, workshop activities allowed us the opportunity to discuss and compare healthcare systems in Poland and England and share real experiences of the challenges which must be faced when setting up an ICS.

Amanda said: “Today is about understanding where we are in the UK and comparing what is being undertaken elsewhere, gaining shared understanding and learning from others.

“It’s interesting to understand Poland’s health/care direction and that they are working to similar priories in relation to population health management.”

Daniel said: “It’s a really good opportunity to share our experiences with different health systems around the world, hear what they’re doing and keep learning together.

“Nobody has got this perfect and it was interesting to hear about similar challenges which they were facing in Poland, such as the challenge of having the analytical ability to interpret all the data we have got.”

This visit represents the start of a two-year partnership between ICHP and the Polish National Health Fund and World Bank Poland.

Our Deputy Director of Business Intelligence Andi Orlowski said: “It will be wonderful to work with and share our skills with the World Bank, particularly around ICSs and population health management.

“But more than that, it’s great to be able to bring our friends at Buckinghamshire and Nottingham in to the conversation, with their experience and knowledge. That shows the real strength of our collaborations.”

At ICHP we believe that to achieve the maximum benefits for the populations we serve we must work collaboratively not just externally, but internally as well. This work with the World Bank demonstrates the power of external collaboration but also how internally we bring our ICHP teams together. Our Business Intelligence team have driven this work forward but only through the support of our communications team – people like me, the writer of this post – are we able to share and build this story.

We’re proud of our differing strengths and skills but understand that it is only through coming together that we are able to deliver the best possible population health outcomes.