Integrated care aims to improve people's outcomes and experiences of care by bringing services together around people and communities. This means addressing the fragmentation of services and lack of co-ordination people often experience by providing person-centred, joined-up care. Those best-placed to understand what they need, what is working and what could be improved are the people using the services. Their lived experience is a powerful tool to improve existing services and identify new and better ways to meet people's needs. Currently, people's experiences of health and care services are usually collected and understood at the level of individual providers (Wellings 2019). This means we know about people's experiences of individual services such as general practice, hospitals or social care, but not about whether these services are working well together to meet people's needs. As integrated care systems (ICSs) and place-based partnerships develop it will be essential for all local partners, including ICS staff, NHS provider organisations, local authorities and the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, to come together to develop a better understanding of how patients and users experience integrated care. This is key to improving population health and developing services that meet the needs of the people and communities they serve. This guide provides practical steps to help embed this way of working into your system.
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