Patient facing technology may help relieve pressure over surgery backlog
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has adopted new technology to tackle the elective surgery backlog. West Middlesex hospital has reduced their time spent gathering pre-operative information by 63 per cent.
The NHS trust, home to two of London’s busiest acute hospitals, has implemented a digital-first pathway from DrDoctor for its endoscopy diagnostic service.
The current endoscopy backlog is around half a million appointments, according to research from UCL, contributing to pressure on the NHS to reduce surgery backlog.
Using patient facing technologies, the trust has been able to streamline the pre-operative process. The technology cuts out time spent on phone calls and trying to contact staff by allowing the trust to send reminder messages, digital letters and assessments to patients ahead of their operations.
To reduce waiting lists and cancellations, a Quick Question functionality is being used to send email and text notifications to patients. This enables staff to check that patients still wish to be seen and means staff do not need to spend time phoning the patient.
Tom Whicher, CEO of DrDoctor said: “One of our main ambitions is to provide a patient engagement platform with components that are critical to the sustainability of NHS trusts and work efficiently for both service users and staff. The work we are doing with Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust is helping to lay the groundwork for clinical change and speedier adoption of a digital first healthcare system, while putting the needs of the patient at its heart.”
By enabling patients to complete assessments ahead of endoscopy operations, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has seen the average time taken fall from 26 minutes to just under 19 minutes, a 29 per cent decrease.
Staff reactions to the digital pathway have been positive, with 80 per cent of staff finding the pre-operation assessment questionnaire useful and three-quarters of staff satisfied with the revised pathway.
Bruno Botelho, Director of Digital Operations at the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust, said: “Thanks to DrDoctor, we have established an infrastructure to address the evolving needs of our patients and staff. By digitally engaging with patients, we’re helping to release the capacity pressures our staff face. I’m really pleased that we can now provide a more efficient service to patients and provide more personalised care.”