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This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Online integration

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West Midlands promotes new health, care and wellbeing web platform

In the West Midlands, as part of our approach to integration in the region we are launching a web platform which brings together people and intelligence across the health, care and wellbeing community. It's launched as part of our regional event on 'Better Care: latest thinking on integration', which Department of Health's Director General for Social Care Jon Rouse is attending on Tuesday 21 January.

The Health and Social Care West Midlands site is part of ‘Making it Work’, an activity started in the region in March 2013 - to coincide with the radical structural changes to the NHS and the transfer of public health responsibilities to local government.  This initiative brought together leaders from across the health, social care and wellbeing communities in the West Midlands with Richard Humphries of the Kings Fund to look at how the region would manage the changes.

Two clear themes emerged – the importance of culture, behaviours and building relationships  to bring about change and the general lack of knowledge within and across organisations of who does what, where it gets done and how much information is held in the respective organisational silos.

Since then, a group of individuals from across health, social care and wellbeing  have been trying to make sense of it all, and led by Nick Bell the CEO at Staffordshire County Council have been determined to avoid setting up new structures and meetings for the sake of getting ‘everyone around the table’.

The website, designed by Boilerhouse, is run by Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM) and is our practical response to needs emerging from the region's Making it Work initiative. The site has four main features:

  • A sophisticated directory/contact finder to enable users to browse, identify and contact individuals from all health and social care  professions, in all organisations across the region
  • A resources database which enables users to easily locate relevant/latest high level documents;
  • Data visualisation tools to help users make sense of the region’s location, socio-economic and outcomes data;
  • A ‘communities’ section to enable professional networking, with public or private groups to enable discussion and sharing around specific topics

The site has all of the bells and whistles associated with modern social media platforms, but rather than investing up front in an off the shelf expensive IT system it is being built from the bottom up, using networks that already exist within the region to test out what people are comfortable doing on-line but also exploiting the efficiencies associated with using technology as a tool for building understanding and cross sector collaboration.

As Nick Bell CEO at Staffordshire recently said:

The challenges posed to the health and social care system by integration and specifically the Better Care Fund are not simple, some would say ‘wicked’. This platform provides a practical way of us working together in the region.


If we are serious about transformational change and integrating services for better outcomes for citizens then technology has got to have a role to play. This site provides an example of how technology can assist organisations in building new relationships and connections across the system which will be essential if it is going to work

We would be interested in hearing from other regions on what you are doing to build relationships across the health and social care system in your area.

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