Addressing the inherent link between healthcare transformation and financial health

Published: 19-Dec-2023

In the face of this unrelenting pressure to make limited budgets stretch as far as possible, there is a growing expectation for our health and care system to transform

“No money” is the stark reality for our NHS and adult social care clients. Ironically, this financial constraint is simultaneously providing a significant barrier to the advancements needed to address critical cost factors across the board.

Financial issues are sustained and systemic within the NHS; grappling with the perpetual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, navigating diminishing funding whilst wrestling increasing staffing expenses and infrastructure costs, and meeting the surge in support required for the most vulnerable with complex care needs…to name just a few! Yet, in the face of this unrelenting pressure to make limited budgets stretch as far as possible, there is a growing expectation for our health and care system to transform.

As sectors such as retail, banking and local government continue to modernise to provide enhanced, personalised digital services that improve citizen experiences, there is more scrutiny of the NHS and its traditional ways of working. The UK population is unrelenting in its demands for a connected, robust and professional health service, one that provides a human-centred experience with easy, quicker access to relevant and timely care through connected centres of health, efficient pathways and cutting-edge technology.

There’s also a widespread understanding that digital transformation can help solve the financial crux of the problem. Technology has the power to drive vastly improved organisational and financial outcomes by eliminating non-value add activities and creating operational and cost efficiencies throughout the system.

Understandably therefore, there is a question as to why our health and care sector remains behind in the digital transformation journey.  

Balancing health and care advancement with retention

Zooming out to a macro perspective, the leaders and dedicated staff of NHS Trusts and Boards across the country find themselves caught in a complex web of adversity.

The weight of system-wide financial challenges is causing frustrations and insurmountable pressure, and we only have to watch the news to see the sector is experiencing a resulting exodus of staff who are choosing to leave their careers behind. This attrition and skills depletion is further exacerbating the already complex crisis.

Now more than ever, the health and care workforce needs to be empowered by advanced digital resources and solutions. For example, implementing automation and artificial intelligence to simplify ways of working will lessen the burden of routine tasks, and free up staff time to prioritise more complex, people-focused activities that really make a difference to delivering quality care. Workforce modelling is key to this process, helping to map health and care pathways and services to patient needs, so employees can deliver the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

A human-centred approach to modernising the workplace will also help to create an environment that attracts and retains talent, because services and solutions will be designed to directly address the perspectives and wellbeing of the workforce. We recommend incorporating employee experience solutions into transformation strategies, to help build a better workplace culture based upon improved communication, productivity, and recognition.

Nevertheless, our discussions with NHS Trusts and Boards highlight a recurring theme. Although a long list of programmes have been initiated to help ‘stop the rot’ in terms of staff retention, the actual path towards the future of health and care - where citizen and staff experiences are in line with the high standards we have come to expect from modern life - remains unclear.

The first step: establishing financial control as a prerequisite for healthcare transformation

The main question from many Trust and Board leaders is: where do I start?

Given the number of competing priorities and various approaches that could be adopted to transform a service in crisis, the answer isn’t obvious. But we believe that focusing on addressing financial control can create the initial organisational headroom and financial breathing space required to enable a path towards successful healthcare transformation.

This financial “grip” goes beyond balancing budgets. It involves prudent management of all financial resources using robust strategies for optimised resource allocation, cost management, revenue generation and prudent investment.

By identifying, prioritising, and tackling the root causes of your financial pressures, you can re-gain control of service performance, mitigate wider challenges, and crucially, unlock financial sustainability to underpin organisational change and transformation moving forward. Without this stable financial foundation, even the most ambitious of healthcare initiatives risk becoming unsustainable over time.

Achieving financial sustainability is therefore not just about short-term survival. It is pivotal for any organisation’s longevity, and will empower the NHS to successfully fulfil its mission of delivering quality care to support a healthier population now, and for future generations. We believe this is the bedrock upon which the future success of health and care rests.

Addressing the inherent link between healthcare transformation and financial health

Your path to financially sustainable transformation

As a trusted advisor to the health and care sector, we work together to address the inherent link between organisational financial health, and people-focused digital transformation.

  • Human-centred service design approach - We embark on a collaborative journey with finance leaders, and engage all stakeholders (including staff, citizens, patients, and their circles of care) to dissect the unique landscape and pain points. We understand the real need for change across an organisation as identified by those who use the services day in, day out.
  • Identify challenges and need for change – We employ a comprehensive framework (encompassing primary care, community services, acute services, mental health, and social care integration) to identify the crux of the financial challenges, and align them with avenues for positive change.
  • Financial review and planning – We delve into financial accounts, processes and practices to forge a tailored, actionable plan aimed at reclaiming financial stewardship within the organisation, Trust or Board.
  • Design transformative, financially sustainable solutions – With a keen understanding of the organisation’s unique needs and challenges, we create tailored solutions to address them. We help design a transformation roadmap that will confront financial obstacles whilst navigating towards the more modern care pathways that citizens deserve.

Throughout, we prioritise human experiences when engaging with services to create financially robust change that truly makes a difference. We empower health and care professionals with intelligent, sustainable and healthy ways of working, and the ability to provide citizens with convenient, efficient access to the best quality care and support.

Whilst these digital solutions overtly revolutionise health and care experiences, they simultaneously support organisations behind the scenes with optimised operations that enable complex, cost-effective decisions and processes every day.

If you want to learn more about our vision for the future of health and care, and how we can support financially sustainable, human-centred digital transformation journeys using our four-proposition approach (highlighted in the diagram below), read our brochure. Or please click here if you’d like an informal chat about our service offerings.

Addressing the inherent link between healthcare transformation and financial health

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