shows painted hands joined together to form picture of heart to denote care

One of the big recent policy developments in health and social care is the push to form Integrated Care Systems (ICS). 

The BMA  helpfully explains ICS’s as place based systems of care that bring together NHS, local authority, and third sector bodies to take on collective responsibility for the resources and health of the population of a defined area, with the aim of delivering better, more integrated care for patients. So, how can work management tools support  ICS’s to deliver place based systems of care?



The plan.

Firstly, the name says it all. Integration. The bringing together of things. Combining, unification, blending, meshing. Whichever way you look at it, the title is giving a clear steer as to what is envisioned and it’s definitely not a silo mentality of split responsibility, duplication or mystification.

Integrated care systems focus on collaborating to set strategy, finance, workforce planning, and agree overall levels of integration. Information sharing and joined up working across such key strategic areas requires the artful management  and sharing of information so that ICS’s can break down barriers between services, support doctors to collaborate, and facilitate the move towards a model of co-operation over competition.


In real life ….


So let’s step back from this a moment and think about our own practical experience of how these things often happen in reality. Cross organisational working often gets bogged down in the sheer snowstorm of admin. Emails that get lost, buried or remain unread. Spreadsheets and documents that have no clear version control or management process. Reports that horrifyingly have to be created manually from multiple sources. Management teams trying to make decisions based on out of date information that doesn’t provide clarity.  It’s quite possible to see why things just sometimes grind to a halt.


Manage the work and the information.


Verto is a clever  cloud based work management platform that allows different organisations to robustly manage the cross-organisational projects involved in moving towards an Integrated Care System. Verto provides a birds-eye -view, single version of the truth. It brings together planning, tasks, risks, resource management, information sharing, conversations and project performance monitoring all under one roof.  In essence it provides a hub for all of the information needed to make a plan, operationalise the plan, resource the plan, and monitor, report and manage the plan.


Recently, Verto has been working with Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as it moves forward with establishing a single commissioner and two Integrated Care Partnerships.  With over a decade of experience in working with the healthcare sector to improve project tracking and outcomes, Verto was chosen as the tool to allow the Eastern Cheshire to get the most out of it’s collaborative working across all four CCG’s in the locality.

The CCG recognised that it needed a Cloud-based approach for its programme and project management in order to deliver:

  • Ease of use
  • Collaborative working
  • Version control and visibility of updates
  • Easy and accurate reporting to enable planning with confidence and deliver efficiency savings

Using technology and data is such a staple and standardised part of everyday life now.  Clever technology is woven in to our everyday experience from television to transport.   These advances are filtering into the healthcare space – some will deliver front line benefits to patients and care receivers.  Others such as work management exist in the background to facilitiate the logistics of deploying transformational ways of working.


The bigger picture.


Understanding of priorities and a plan for engagement and implementation is vital for digital policies to succeed and this comes down to communication, information sharing and visibility.  A recent report by the Nuffield Trust identified a fragmented approach to communication and engagement between national policy makers and NHS providers as a barrier to digitisation (arguably, modernisation) of healthcare.  As is often the case, it comes down to understanding  – nationally, policy makers want standardisation while local providers seek flexibility.  Work management systems such as Verto can provide the link between locally considered priorities and visible, measurable implementation plans.


One thing’s for certain, it’s a complex landscape.  The divergent organisations involved in providing place based systems of care operate against a backdrop of very different systems of governance, accountability, finance and culture. Bringing them together in order to provide the long term care needs of the population is a challenge. Shared, trusted information and data will be a key ingredient to fostering collaboration but also as a tool for collecting data to understand and evaluate impact, look at changes and feed into long term planning.  This will be vital to a progressively evolving care planning system.

To learn more about Verto can support your organisation to deliver place based systems of care, visit us at or contact us for a conversation.