The COVID-19 pandemic has helped respiratory care teams to break down barriers and work collaboratively across and within teams, departments and sectors. This has prompted them to re-examine how to deliver respiratory care services and to seek novel, often digital, approaches to healthcare provision.
A joint NHS Confederation and Boehringer Ingelheim roundtable brought together clinicians to explore how to build on these new ways of working to deliver better integrated care for patients with a chronic obstructive respiratory disease (COPD). This briefing summarises the key talking points from the discussion.
- Participants shared the view that taking a more holistic view of patients, exploring the wider factors that affect their health, such as housing, air quality, mental health and social isolation, would go some way in improving patients’ health and wellbeing.
- During the first wave, respiratory clinicians noticed a reduction in the number of exacerbations in a patient’s condition, as patients were staying at home and not picking up infections. It became clear that more support needs to be provided in patients’ homes in future, not in potentially high-risk areas such as hospital clinics.
- Innovative, possibly digital, treatment approaches might offer ways of treating patients outside of the traditional hospital setting. But digital technology cannot be seen as the sole solution or default approach.
- Accurate and timely data forms a key part of being able to provide an integrated service for patients and is vital for ensuring future resilience. Local ownership of data was deemed particularly important, while a national dashboard showing what interventions cost and what clinicians would be likely to achieve was seen as worthwhile.