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Manchester College NHS FT goes digital to validate wait lists

When Manchester College NHS Basis Belief was on the lookout for methods to handle the variety of sufferers on its waitlists post-pandemic, leaders knew digital had a task to play.

The backlog of sufferers ready for routine surgical procedures is among the greatest issues dealing with the NHS following the coronavirus disaster.

Newest figures present there have been 5.7 million sufferers nonetheless ready to begin remedy on the finish of August 2021, with greater than 200,000 ready greater than 52 weeks. The figures are the best since data started.

Manchester College NHS Basis Belief (MFT) was no completely different with about 20,000 individuals on its inpatient ready checklist in direction of the top of final 12 months, in keeping with Daniel Gordon, director of company resilience.

However by utilizing a digital first strategy it has saved 2,100 employees hours, about £25,000, and had 1,500 sufferers defer their appointment to release scientific time.

Talking to Digital Well being Information, Gordon mentioned the belief wanted to discover a technique to contact each affected person with out including additional burden on administration and scientific employees.

On the similar time (October 1, 2020) NHS England has set out guidance for the clinical validation of waiting lists aimed toward decide which sufferers had the best scientific want and subsequently wanted to be seen faster.

“The default place was we’d ship a bodily letter out and watch for that affected person to ring us up, or we’d ring all these sufferers up,” Gordon mentioned.

“However on the time we had fairly excessive ranges of illness absence in sure admin groups and along with that you simply had very excessive ranges of necessities from Covid.

“From an admin standpoint, it wasn’t a very good time to begin including an additional 15,000 calls to sufferers on prime of that.”

That’s when the belief turned to a digital answer. Through the pandemic it had labored with Healthcare Communications to arrange a textual content messaging service to contact sufferers when their outpatient appointments had been cancelled.

The 15 hospitals that type a part of the belief function in a devolved method, that means there was no group-wide contact centre at present in use.

Working with Healthcare Communications, the belief stood up a digital system talk with sufferers about appointments in simply 10 days.

“What we needed to have the ability to do was to ship a digital type to those sufferers and for them to answer utilizing the digital type,” Gordon mentioned.

“We have now six choices on that type, for instance ‘I wish to stick with it with my wait’ or the choice to defer… or asking in the event that they’ve been handled elsewhere.

“We needed to supply sufferers these selections and see what their needs had been.”

The system works by sending a textual content message to sufferers on the ready lists which features a digital type that asks what a affected person’s needs are for his or her upcoming appointment – whether or not that may be to proceed with the appointment, to postpone, or to cancel.

To make sure all affected person’s wants had been catered for, and cut back the chance of digital exclusion, the belief additionally labored with Manchester Scientific Commissioning Group (CCG), which offered its Care Gateway as a brief contact centre for individuals who most well-liked to not use a digital type.

“Slightly than saying it’s only a digital answer and the one method of responding is by coming by a digital type, truly you create an area for the place all sufferers can reply,” Gordon added.

Because the system has been in place 1,500 sufferers have chosen to defer their appointment which Gordon mentioned is “helpful from a service administration standpoint”.

It’s additionally saved the equal of two,100 employees hours that may in any other case have been spent calling sufferers. In financial phrases, that’s about £25,000, in keeping with the belief.

Integration with EPR

For Gordon, the true worth of the programme is its hyperlink again into the belief’s Chameleon digital affected person report (EPR).

“It automated that course of so we might then give attention to figuring out the affected person cohort, sending the textual content messages out and choosing up the responses on the again finish,” he instructed Digital Well being Information

“For these sufferers who needed to return off the ready checklist or needed to defer, each one in every of them could be clinically validated. The clinician would log onto the EPR to try this.

“That actually is the worth of it as a result of you may hyperlink it again right into a system that the groups are used to utilizing.”

As soon as a affected person had been clinically validated that info was then shared again to GPs and different care suppliers to make sure continuity of care throughout the system.

The introduction of digital appointment reminders is a part of wider digitisation plans on the belief. It’s going to quickly be switching its to an EPR offered by Epic which Gordon mentioned will “digitise a variety of our processes end-to-end”.

This may embrace the digital appointment reminders and letters at present getting used, with the addition or affected person portals that may permit sufferers to entry appointment info and check leads to one place.

The brand new EPR, anticipated to go reside in direction of the top of 2022, will even substitute the 4 legacy affected person administration techniques that are used throughout all the belief’s websites.

Going ahead, the teachings realized from rolling out digital letters shall be used to form the broader use of digital healthcare providers in Manchester.

“There’s some fascinating classes once you begin to have a look at completely different affected person cohorts by way of who has used it, who hasn’t used it, who has responded,” Gordon added.

“So, we will begin desirous about the digital design in Manchester, how we strategy that and the way will we work with the Metropolis of Manchester to ensure sufferers can entry and use the total digital suite of what’s coming in underneath Epic.”

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