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CWH NHS Trust introduce digital pathway for endoscopy patients

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS FT (CWH) has adopted a new digital-first pathway for its endoscopy diagnostic service. It will provide nursing staff with more time to focus on care and engaging patients in the pre-procedure process.

The trust is using patient-facing digital technology to reduce the time taken to gather pre-operative information by more than a quarter. The technology allows the trust to send reminder messages, digital letters, and assessments to patients ahead of their operations.

The online letters enable patients to view and download their correspondence instantly, helping to prevent paper letters from arriving in the wrong order, and reduce confusion from them being lost in the post.

One of the benefits of the technology is that the time usually spent on phone calls and trying to contact staff, can now be used to provide more efficient care, and give patients more control over their healthcare experience.

The technology’s’ functionality is also being used to send email and text notifications to check with patients if they still need or want to be seen, which is helping reduce waiting lists and cut down the chance of cancellations. Broadcast messaging alerts patients to changes to clinics electronically, which saves the time of a phone call for staff.

Bruno Botelho, Director of Digital Operations at the 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.”

Pre-assessments, prompting patients to complete tasks before their appointment, have also helped streamline the patient experience.

Since patients have completed their assessments ahead of their endoscopy operations, CWH has seen the average time taken, fall from 26 minutes to just under 19 minutes – a 29% decrease.

At West Middlesex, the same time spent has reduced from 32 minutes to 12 minutes – a 63% decrease in time spent. There has also been a positive response from staff, with 80% of staff finding the pre-op assessment questionnaire useful.

Another benefit for full-time staff is that they will be able to carry out day-to-day activities without additional staff having to perform admin tasks. Nurses can also spend more time on high-risk patients, and admin teams can focus on contacting and supporting patients who may be harder to reach. This allows the trust to save time and money, whilst enhancing the patient experience across the trust.

This will also help raise awareness about the patient’s healthcare journey, resulting in better communication between patients, clinical teams, and staff.

Following on from the success of the technology, there are plans to repeat the digital pathway in other specialties at the trust.

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NHE May/June 2024

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