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Overhauling management of outpatients using digital tech

The Chair of NHS Providers has praised a project at Chase Farm hospital to overhaul the management of patients and information during outpatient appointments, stating: “They [Chase Farm] really are making the best of all the technology they’ve got to transform the experience for patients, for staff and for them financially as an organisation.”


Dame Gill Morgan was speaking following an event at the London Stadium organised by patient flow specialists Intouch with Health, which saw senior figures from 35 NHS Trusts gather to share knowledge and listen to case studies around how digitising patient flow in outpatient settings can lead to an improved patient experience, create efficiencies and achieve significant financial gains.


The new Chase Farm Hospital, part of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, opened to the public in September 2018. It uses digital solutions to manage the outpatient journey, including arriving patients for their appointment, directing them around the hospital, and tracking their location for the duration of their visit.


The hospital has also implemented an electronic appointment outcome form, enabling clinicians to record procedure and referral to treatment codes, or create a digital flag to request the creations of a follow up appointment, with the digital forms achieving a monthly 99% completion rate by clinicians.


Speaking after the event, Dame Gill stated: “If we really are going to deliver the ten-year agenda, then we need to be thinking in a different and more integrated way about all the components. Digital, for me, is not about a set of things to do, but a way of thinking about the opportunities and linking digital and technology together with transformation and workforce.”


A project at Aintree University Hospital (part of the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) to improve patient experience and increase the clinical efficiency through digital technology was also featured at the event. Jonathan Lofthouse, Director of Improvement at the hospital, led the project. Following his presentation, he stated that: “Some of the most significant challenges within the NHS include how we transform at pace within what is clearly a very challenging financial environment.”


He summarised: “What we have learned from our work with Intouch with Health is that when you work in partnership with a company and are confident in the product they supply, you can release both financial and operational efficiency benefits in very quick order … ultimately to enhance the patient experience and the clinical experience of staff working within organisations.”


Mike Sanders Chief Executive Officer at Intouch with Health, added: “The objective of the day was to provide a platform for teams from Trusts across the UK to share information and best practice, and I believe we achieved it. There was a strong sense of camaraderie among colleagues from different Trusts, all of whom were keen to share their experiences, both positive and negative, of changing the face of the NHS using digital.”


HEFMA was at this event and will report in more detail in forthcoming issues of the Pulse Magazine.