The hub and spoke model can deliver high quality care to a scattered population through centres of expertise supported by a network of several smaller geographically dispersed centres. This approach is now being proposed to provide care for people with rare diseases, and in particular for rare bleeding disorders. To ensure that specialised treatments such as gene therapy can be delivered effectively using the hub and spoke model of care, it is important to understand the challenges that the model presents for all stakeholders.
As part of the EHC Think Tank Workstream on Hub and Spoke Treatment Models, 14 stakeholders representing health care providers, patient groups, research and industry met in November 2021 to identify challenges in the design, implementation and sustainable operation of hub and spoke models, and to propose ways in which resources could be allocated and collaboration fostered, from each of their stakeholder perspectives. Five key challenges were identified: 1. How future care might be re-envisioned; 2. Which agencies and stakeholders should determine which centres become hubs or spokes, and how this process might be carried out; 3. Identifying the criteria that will define a hub and spoke, and the roles of various stakeholders in that process; 4. How resources might be allocated; 5. How hubs and spokes will collaborate to ensure that patients' needs are prioritised. This model may also be recommended for treatment with gene therapy in certain rare diseases.
Hub and spoke models should be implemented by establishing criteria for hub and spoke status, prioritising patients in service reorganisation and in the care pathway, and considering the impact of new service models on current arrangements. The next step is to vet the challenges identified by this workstream with a broader group of external stakeholders and bring their perspectives back for consideration.