The Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Record (CWICR) programme was initiated in 2019 with the aim of providing a holistic view of a patient’s care and treatment across all settings. With ten partner organisations involved in the project, robust programme management was key.
Arden & GEM’s digital transformation team was commissioned, in May 2020, to provide support for the project including stakeholder engagement, programme management and strategic communications. As a result, the first stage of the CWICR successfully went live on 1 July 2021 to improve patient care and experience by sharing information between care providers.
The NHS’s commitment to shared care records across GPs, hospitals, community services, mental health services and social care has been cemented in both the NHS Long Term Plan and the initiation of the Local Health and Care Record (LHCR) programme.
Within Coventry and Warwickshire, patients and professionals wanted a holistic view of a patient’s care and treatment across all settings to enhance collaborative working, improving patient experience and safety at all stages of care.
With ten partner organisations involved in the CWICR prpgramme – including the local CCG, councils, care providers and ambulance service – robust programme governance and management was key. While a successful business case had been developed and procurement process delivered, the programme had dropped behind schedule in agreeing a solution specification, and the associated data sharing processes, with delays further compounded by responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arden & GEM’s digital transformation team was commissioned, in May 2020, to provide programme management support for the project, drawing upon their experience of working with sites to accelerate digitisation through the Global Digital Exemplar programme.
The team was tasked with ensuring delivery of the following outputs:
- Platform specification
- Agreeing datasets and the legal basis for sharing
- Developing data integration interfaces
- Putting system security in place
- A sustainable and appropriate fiscal model.
Keeping stakeholders engaged
One of the key challenges in large-scale, complex, multi-partner programmes of work is keeping stakeholders informed and engaged.
The CSU team consulted with each key stakeholder to understand their thoughts on how the programme was being delivered and then designed a pragmatic approach to meet their needs and overcome any existing issues.
By establishing forums and providing regular messaging and updates, the programme partners were supported to come back to the shared vision and objectives that had been captured in the programme business case.
Putting the appropriate governance in place
To drive the programme forward, increase transparency and engender confidence, a robust programme management infrastructure was formalised. This included standardised reporting, risk recognition and mitigation and an audit trail. A dedicated resource was assigned to the programme to document minutes and actions at each meeting and forum.
Developing a communications strategy
In order to inform the public about CWICR, and better understand their thoughts and feelings on this initiative, Arden & GEM’s Communication and Engagement team was asked to develop a region-wide approach to strategic communication including an engagement campaign.
The engagement campaign brought together representatives from each partner organisation as part of a working group, with toolkits developed to enable partner support for centrally organised activity. The campaign included media relations, virtual engagement sessions, a dedicated webpage, social media activity and dialogue with local patient groups. This resulted in 247 responses to an online survey and actionable feedback from stakeholder groups including the Local Medical Committee.
Responding to changes in the model
Part way through the project, a common shared care record model was adopted between Coventry and Warwickshire, Birmingham and Solihull, and Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICSs to ensure a consistent, joined-up approach across the larger geography. This change meant that the contract and Information Governance requirements needed to be aligned across all three ICSs; a task that was achieved with support from the Programme Manager.
This developed even further during Spring 2021, with six West Midlands ICSs collaborating with the aspiration to increase the geographical sharing.
Implementing tools for future success
The CSU team began a five-week transition period, before the initial phase of the programme went live, undertaking a comprehensive handover of documents, tools and plans with the in-house programme management office. To support implementation of the ICR solution, a training toolkit was developed for use by each of the three ICSs. By bringing together clinical, technical and training expertise, targeted materials were developed for health and social care staff.
As a result of the robust yet pragmatic approach to programme management and strategic communications activity, the first organisation went live with the CWICR on 1 July 2021. Data sharing has now commenced across direct care providers and, as further organisations come online, the level of appropriate information visible will increase to improve patient care and experience.
To successfully meet this go live date, Arden & GEM maintained oversight of all the programme workstreams, and acted as the key conduit to develop, and secure approval for, the contract, Data Sharing Agreement, Data Protection Impact Assessment, Privacy Notice and Equality Impact Assessment. While the wider profile of CWICR was raised through acting as the project representative at relevant forums including membership of the West Midlands Shared Care Record Board.
The complexity of and number of stakeholders involved in this programme meant that we needed specialist expertise to keep the project on track, particularly as in-house teams needed to prioritise our system response to COVID-19. The team from Arden & GEM was able to bring stakeholders back to our shared vision and maintain the programme’s profile which resulted in the ICR being successfully delivered to plan.
Danny Roberts, Programme Director and Digital Lead for Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care System