Are new care models working? When evaluating, always remember: human stories matter.

On Tuesday this week I attended a Kings Fund event titled ‘Mainstreaming primary and acute care systems and multispecialty community providers’. The event focused on sharing the learning coming out of the multidisciplinary community providers (MCP) and primary and acute care systems (PACS) new care models vanguards. The various speakers spoke eloquently and passionately about what was working well and what could be replicated in other areas around the United Kingdom.

Opening the event was Samantha Jones, Director, New Care Models Programme, NHS England, and Charles Tallack, Head of NHS Operational Research and Evaluation, NHS England.

The focus for Charles was the evidence emerging from the on-going new care models evaluation. Charles stressed that evaluation is central to the new models of care programme and explained how it would help us understand impact, what is working and why. Unsurprisingly a good part of the session focused on the evidence as supported by the data. Certainly some of the data presented in the session did indeed present some fascinating insights as to the current impact of new care models.

As an owner of a health analytics and insights company, Charles’s presentation was of particular interest.

And then as part of the Q&A session that followed, Samantha Jones reminded delegates of the importance of the human stories behind the new care model programme. The central message here was that while the data is, of course, of vital importance in understanding the impact of new care model design and implementation, we should never forget that what lies at the centre of all of this service transformation are real citizens and real patients with real needs, wants and desires.

It was my major take home of the day. A timely reminder as to why we do what we do. Our central purpose.

Over the past two years Sollis has been providing analytics support to a not for profit social enterprise called Here (formerly Brighton Integrated Care Service). ‘Here’ is a great example of how service transformation is not the business of the vanguards alone. There is life outside of the new care model programme.

This is their story.

It is, above all, a story of collaboration, of what is achievable when dedicated professionals put aside tribal allegiances and join as a team to deliver to a common purpose.

More importantly, it is the story of one particular patient — James.

Above all this is a human story.