June 11-15 marks International Week here at HEALTHCARE DESIGN, a nod in the direction of all of the breakthroughs being made in healthcare design, as well as in healthcare delivery, outside our American borders.

I had the pleasure just last week to hear firsthand insight shared from across the pond, during the Community Health Colloquium held by HDR in conjunction with The Ohio State University and International Poverty Solutions Collaborative on June 7 , 2012,,,,,,,,, in Columbus, Ohio.

The day-long cross-disciplinary event focused on healthcare delivery in the community and was kicked-off with a morning presentation by Sir Cyril Chantler, chair, UCL Partners, The University of College London Academic Health Science Center, titled “Connecting Health to the Community: A Role for Academic Health Science Partnerships.”

UCL Partners is Europe’s largest academic health science partnership, pooling resources and expertise to treat more than 1.5 million patients every year and supporting scientists and researchers to help deliver outcome-driven solutions.

Chantler highlighted the evolution of the academic medical center and pinpointed the need to transport scientific advancements from labs to medical centers and on into communities. For example, he cited the 17-year span that exists in the United Kingdom from the time a medical advancement takes shape in a lab to the time it’s in practice by physicians.

However, progress is being made. Chanter said a focus on stroke care in the London area has led to the development of eight acute care centers seeing great success. And perhaps most important to note is that it isn’t necessarily costing any more thanks to the uptick not only in prevention but in the reduction of follow-up visits.

“Good quality healthcare doesn’t have to be expensive. If you get it right the first time, it actually is cheaper,” he says.

And care, he adds, should be focused on the individual patient and not just on a single condition. For example, older adults tend to have chronic illnesses, which tend to come in multiples. So treatment should respond to such realities, being developed from the patient up rather than simply handed down.

And when judging outcomes, there are more than just clinical outcomes to asses, such as patients’ ability to function within their lives by going to work or school, as well as their overall patient experience.

So in order to provide this more patient-focused care, Chantler advises that delivery should be decentralized and taken into the communities, where education can be offered and research conducted.

So what does this model of care look like? Chantler says there isn’t a clear-cut answer to one ideal solution; instead, it all starts with assessing an individual community’s residents and responding to their needs.

“Things have to be within the context of the community you’re serving,” he says.

It was an interesting day full of interesting insights like those from Chantler. I’ll be writing more about the event, including how this shift toward community-based care should be answered through physical space, here at www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com.