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ICP for Patient Flow

The Integrated care programme for Patient Flow aims to ensure that patients/service users receive the right care, by the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Patient flow is defined as the movement of patients, information or equipment between departments, staff groups or organisations as part of a patients care pathway.

Designing healthcare systems with effective patient flow is critical to the delivery of safe, effective patient care. Poor flow can lead to increased costs, poor quality and poor patient experience. The goal of seamless patient flow across care settings is often thwarted by a lack of integration both within the hospitals and between hospitals, primary care and social care. Increasing demand and capacity issues in the acute hospital system has led to bottlenecks in hospitals for scheduled and unscheduled care. When this is combined with suboptimal coordination between hospital departments and services, efficient patient flow is prevented.

The Integrated Care Programme for Patient Flow (ICP-PF) is currently being established to develop a strategic, whole system, standardised and shared approach to improving patient flow: placing the needs and views of the patient/service user at the centre of care plans; supporting optimal use of resources, avoiding unnecessary delays in care and facilitating seamless co-ordination of care across multiple settings.

The Programme proposes to work collaboratively with key stakeholders in the DoH, HSE, the National Clinical and Integrated Care Programmes, Service Providers and enabling functions to design, agree and support phased implementation of an integrated care framework for patient flow to improve whole system patient flow. In designing the ICP Patient Flow Framework, the programme acts as a focal point and driver in prioritising new and existing work-streams, (e.g. care pathways, new ways of working, technology enabled solutions) to positively impact on patient flow.

Improvements in patient flow will be achieved through targeted workstreams to redesign processes of care, support timely access to care, optimise use of health & social care and ICT resources, and to support integrated discharge/transfer.

The ultimate goal of improving patient flow is better outcomes and experience for patients/service users and staff.

Benefits of Integrated Care Programme for Patient Flow

  • Better quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare delivered for patients/service users using a whole systems approach
  • Reduced waits/delays and improved access to care
  • Improved patient experience/satisfaction  
  • Increased hospital throughput
  • Optimal use of available resources and better use of data to support effective planning and service delivery
  • Improved staff morale including strengthened service improvement skills and awareness of whole system working

Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division