The End of the One-Size-Fits-All Model

Last month, GovLoop had several posts that showed some of the challenges facing healthcare professionals. One example? Matt Garlipp, our current GovLoop Research Fellow, shared how IBM’s Smarter Care initiative coordinates disparate healthcare systems to create more efficient and less costly outcomes for social programs.

Smarter Care comes at a critical time for healthcare professionals. “It is widely accepted that 80 percent of healthcare and social program spending supports the 20 percent of the population who are high-need, high-cost individuals,” said a recent IBM report.

The key to Smarter Care, as Matt observed, is the ability to manage data and analytics, and using that knowledge to understand how various determinants (clinical, lifestyle, social) impact care.

But maybe most importantly, Smarter Care is also indicative of a larger trend in social programs: the end of the one-size-fits-all model. Many governments are now moving towards more personalized and tailored experiences when providing care for constituents.

By taking this customized approach, healthcare programs can intervene earlier and help lower the cost of medical support through preventative care. With more efficient services, healthcare professionals can better meet client needs and create better government experiences.

But even with new data-driven approaches, healthcare workers must still operate in a complex environment. With often changing legislative requirements, increased demand, and reduced funding, health professionals need access to data, information and IT solutions to help them be efficient, and deliver the necessary services to patients. That’s where IBM’s Cúram Solution for Care Management comes into play.

Cúram is a software solution that supports government agencies to manage health and social programs. With Cúram, organizations can be empowered to design programs around a client, and offer a more tailored and customized solutions.

“[Cúram] helps care providers to assess individual’s needs across all clinical and social determinants of health, design individualized care plans for desired outcomes, surround the individual with the care providers and services they need, and then manage and monitor progress against the plan,” said the IBM report. “It enables care organizations to use resources across multiple organizations and levels of government to treat an individual holistically, enhance the quality of care and reduce the cost of care delivery.”

The Cúram solution provides four steps that can lead to effective health and social program management:

  1. Identify high-risk patients and assess their needs holistically.
  2. Design care plans based on assessment results and engage providers best suited to support them.
  3. Coordinate the care team to track progress and refine the care plans to achieve outcomes.
  4. Measure program and stakeholder success based on key performance indicators.

One example of the Cúram solution comes from the Castlefields Health Centre in Northern England. With Cúram, they are taking an integrated approach to provide care for the elderly. “A district nurse works with a social worker to identify and provide supportive care in a program that has reduced hospital admissions of patients aged 65 and older by 14 percent. This program has also significantly lowered the average length of stay for those elderly patients who cannot avoid hospitalization,” said an IBM report.

With Cúram, health and social program officers can be sure they are providing the right services, at the right time, helping to reduce costs and provide better health outcomes for communities.


In times of economic uncertainty, smarter government is a mandate. When information can be analyzed and presented more effectively, the result is better decision making, reporting and insight. For more information on how to use analytics to deliver better services to citizens, check out IBM’sAnalytics to Outcomes group on GovLoop.


 Photo credit: FlickR Creative Commons, Images Money

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Tua'au Kereti Mata'utia, Jr., J.D.

I share thesis suggested: tailored and customized healthcare services equal to improve quality of heathcare servces rather than a “one size fits all approach”.