As the NHS readies itself to support the nation through a difficult winter, it’s never been more important for the healthcare community to work together.
That's why we have partnered with Independent Clinical Services Insourcing - the largest provider of clinical staffing in the UK and Europe - to roll out an innovative programme of support for patients and clinicians.
Together, Cinapsis and ICS Insourcing are launching the Integrated Clinical Advice Network (ICAN), a landmark initiative targeted to help local health services action the Third Phase of the NHS response to COVID-19. NHS England’s guidance stipulates clinicians should avoid referring patients to in-person outpatient appointments, where an appropriate alternative service exists.
What is the ICAN?
The ICAN is an enhancement of the Cinapsis SmartReferrals platform, which already connects Primary Care practitioners with Secondary Care specialists. This collaborative approach serves to dramatically reduce non-urgent A&E attendances, as joint decisions can be made on the best course of treatment for patients. It also takes pressure off clinic waiting lists: an urgent national priority as treatment backlogs caused by COVID-19 continue to mount.
As of this autumn, the newly-launched ICAN will serve to further amplify the impact of the Cinapsis SmartReferrals platform: when a local specialist is not available or where there is a shortage of certain specialists, a GP or paramedic’s call can be transferred to an approved consultant in an alternative region of the UK. The attached patient photographs and documentation can be instantly reviewed, and the optimal treatment pathway set in motion without delay.
Who is it for?
GPs, Rapid Response Teams and Community Practitioners are all amongst the healthcare professionals who can use the Cinapsis app to access expert advice and guidance remotely. Secondary care professionals - from Acute Paediatricians to Mental Health experts - back the initiative because they recognise that ensuring patients are triaged effectively is an efficient use of their time and expertise. Use of Cinapsis reduces the number of A&E and outpatient attendances, giving specialists greater control over their incoming workload.
Clinicians can view each consultant’s experience and credentials on their profile, while also resting assured that everyone on the network has undergone a rigorous recruitment and compliance check. As an extra enhancement, local referral criteria and clinical guidance is incorporated into Cinapsis, so the advice remains relevant regardless of the geographic location of the specialist.
How is it used in the COVID-19 pandemic?
The ICAN is perfectly suited to the specific demands of treating COVID-19 patients: GPs, Paramedics or 111 call handlers can consult with the patient, use SmartReferrals to secure personalised advice from a Respiratory and Acute Medicine consultant; and then make provisions for the patients’ condition to be managed outside of hospital where appropriate. This can result in systemwide savings and streamlined, multi-level collaboration.
For commissioners, the benefits of the Network include reduced cost of outpatient attendance and shorter patient waiting lists, alongside overall enhanced communication between the multiple branches of the NHS. To save further time and to ensure accurate recording of information, all calls and messages facilitated by the ICAN are automatically recorded and uploaded to the relevant patient’s medical notes.
It's important because...
Data from NHS Digital reveals that 11% of A&E attendances between 2018 and 2019 could have been avoided, and the patients’ needs met in out-of-hospital settings. Therefore, patients are the ultimate beneficiaries of the ICAN, as they are provided with faster, more accurate diagnosis, and given access to the most appropriate follow-up treatment. Unnecessary trips to hospitals and long delays in service access become issues of the past.
A significant lesson which can be drawn from the national response to the pandemic is that we are so much stronger when we share and work together in pursuit of a common goal. With a combined experience of over 20 years working with the NHS across CCGs and Acute Trusts, Cinapsis and ICS Insourcing are optimally positioned to support the NHS in strengthening the referrals process; and tackling the unpredictable challenges that may come in the months ahead.
To learn more about the ICAN, including how your healthcare team can become a part of it, please get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.