Last week saw over 750 attendees from 10 countries flock to London for the ninth – and biggest ever – European Collaboration Forum (ECF). The three-day event offered a rich learning environment for health and care leaders from across the globe, with a wide variety of education sessions and keynote talks.
Themed under the banner of Smarter Care, the event focused on the boundaries being pushed within population health management, acute care, nursing, and consumer engagement, to ultimately achieve the Quadruple Aim of health and care.
Tuesday 26 February: Smarter care in the clinical setting
ECF19 kicked off with a focus on dedicated clinicians and the importance of engaging them in the change journey. In a captivating opening keynote, nursing leader Faith Roberts spoke of the impact that mission-oriented staff can have. Faith drew on her experience as executive director of Magnet, professional practice and parish nursing at Illinois’ Carle Physician Group to give a rousing, heart-warming call to action.
Faith Roberts during the opening keynote address at ECF19
Nurses were strongly represented throughout the conference, having led a number of sessions to explain how data is being used to improve infection control, streamline nursing documentation and practice, and offer more individualised care.
Elsewhere, this packed first day was driven by system leaders telling their stories about how the implementation of new technologies as part of their transformation journeys has made an impact on a wide range of areas and is enabling them to deliver better patient outcomes.
The importance of getting the basics right was a key theme that kept re-emerging throughout the course of the event. This was keenly emphasised during the second keynote of the day, addressed by Dr Will Holland, vice president of care management and chief medical information officer for Banner Health, one of the United States’ largest non-profit care systems.
Dr Holland spoke with great clarity about the way his organisation focuses on a handful of key strategic priorities each year. Most recently his focus has been on implementing a data strategy to improve both care quality and clinical reliability. This prioritisation has helped to mobilise staff to provide consistent outcomes improvements.
Dr Will Holland speaking during afternoon keynote of day one at ECF19
Wednesday 27 February: Patient-centred improvements
Day two opened with touching insights from patients and service users about the ways in which connected, patient-centred care made a real difference to their care journeys. The keynote was opened with a moving speech from Susan Wilson, daughter of Bridget Wilson, patient at St Joseph’s Hospice in London, followed by Sam Edward, medical director and palliative care consultant at North London Hospice, on their perceptions on the impact of Cerner’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) on the patient and clinician experience. The session ended with the testimony from Trevor Stiles, a recovering prostate cancer patient, on how having access to Cerner’s patient portal, HealtheLife℠, enables him to be intimately involved in his own care – reducing his need to return to hospital for test results and consequently, his anxiety around his prognosis.
Susan Wilson, Dr Sam Edward and Trevor Stiles during the morning keynote of day two at ECF19
The morning also saw informative panel sessions and discussions around a variety of topics that resonate strongly in the industry these days, including the role and need for interoperability and open standards, and the advantages for patients and clinicians of connecting care and information across venues. With these sessions, the event started to see a shift towards a population health focus that was to lead the content in the agenda for the remaining day and a half of the Forum.
The afternoon keynote explored the ways in which data intelligence can help improve population health and how national initiatives are helping to bring this to life. During this keynote, guests heard from NHS England deputy chief executive Matthew Swindells on what the recently published NHS Long Term Plan means for England and how data-driven intelligence fits into it. Matthew also reiterated the need for connected records and integrated care between settings to transform the national system.
The session, chaired by Cerner vice president of population health Dr Justin Whatling, also heard Dr John Halamka, professor of international healthcare innovation at Harvard Medical School and CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, inviting attendees to think at a strategic and national level, and to be bold and act fast when it comes to innovating and advancing health and care.
Dr Justin Whatling, Matthew Swindells, Dr Will Holland and Dr John Halamka during the population health keynote of day two at ECF19
Thursday 28 February: Engaged consumers, healthier populations
ECF19’s final day opened with the Forum’s last keynote – a fascinating insight into how citizens can be encouraged to engage more in the improvement of their own health, through data.
During this session, Allison Hess, vice president of health and fitness at Geisinger Health Plans in the USA, gave incredibly moving accounts of Geisinger patients and employees who were able to benefit from the health system’s Fresh Food Farmacy programme, which used a ‘food as medicine’ approach to help tackle food insecurity issues in areas with high numbers of patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. The results? Encouraging outcomes that exceed the results typically seen from diabetes medications alone. Additionally, patients who have experienced the benefits of the programme are also more motivated to regain control over their health and pursue other healthy habits, like tobacco cessation or weight management plans.
Allison Hess during the final keynote of ECF19 on day three
The rest of the day saw a succession of speakers from different organisations cover the topics that are shaping the future of healthcare and population health management. This included a session led by national and regional NHS leadership organisations outlining their strategies for data intelligence and showcasing how bringing together a ‘single version of the truth’ has enabled both North East London Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) and South, Central and West CSU to make great gains in the management of population health across their respective footprints.
With that, we wrap-up ECF19, but not without thanking, once again, all the delegates, speakers, Cerner associates, and sponsors that made possible the success of this event - Collaboration is only brought about by those willing to share their stories and learnings with others. We look forward to seeing you at ECF20, and hope that you too will add to the conversation.