Integrating digital solutions for personalised follow-ups at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
When Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) wanted to implement digital solutions to help the trust deliver personalised follow-up pathways they turned to ReStart for fast and efficient integration services.
By Dave Marks, Development and Integration Manager, NNUH
When it comes to delivering personalised follow-up pathways, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) recognised the need for digital solutions. To achieve their goals efficiently, they turned to several digital health partners and providers.
Back in 2020, NNUH partnered with ReStart Consulting, Infinity Health, and DrDoctor to implement additional Patient-Initiated Follow-up (PIFU) functionalities. Infinity Health and DrDoctor provided the platform to manage the PIFU project, while ReStart brought in their technical expertise to support the in-house team with seamless integration. This ambitious project went live in May 2022, marking a significant step towards improving patient-centred care.
The benefits of Patient-Initiated Follow-up
The decision to implement PIFU pathways was not just a local initiative; it was part of the NHS Elective Recovery Programme. The trust aimed to reduce waiting lists and meet national targets by moving 5% of patients onto PIFU pathways by 2023. This approach aligns with the growing trend of patients actively participating in their healthcare and engaging in shared decision-making with clinicians regarding their care.
The integration of PIFU brings numerous benefits for both patients and healthcare providers. By empowering patients to proactively schedule appointments and communicate with their healthcare providers, these interfaces foster improved patient outcomes, promote continuity of care, and increase patient satisfaction. Patients no longer have to wait for their healthcare providers to initiate contact; instead, they can receive the support and guidance they need precisely when required.
The implementation challenges
Implementing PIFU poses various challenges, one of which is integrating it with the existing systems and databases. With the assistance of ReStart, the implementation process was made smooth and efficient. Leveraging their extensive knowledge of the hospital’s bespoke Patient Administration System (PAS), ReStart were able to fine-tune the interface, facilitating a seamless integration of PIFU within the trust’s infrastructure. Having such a knowledgeable and responsive partner helps us to deliver the best in care for our patients
Furthermore, ReStart’s expertise in support and development work, including their proficiency in the NHS trust’s main Technical Integration Engine (TIE), played a vital role in overcoming implementation hurdles. This established partnership allowed for streamlined coordination throughout the entire project, starting from the initial contract signing to go-live. As a result, the trust’s in-house team was able to redirect their focus and resources to other crucial projects, ensuring a balanced allocation of efforts.
What’s in store for the future
Looking ahead, NNUH has exciting plans to further enhance patient experiences. They aim to implement functionality that sends appointments via text message from DrDoctor. Additionally, the trust intends to integrate with the NHS App to improve usability and convenience for patients. Moreover, discussions are underway to explore regional collaboration among three trusts, enabling a more comprehensive and interconnected approach to care.
The integration of PIFU interfaces at NNUH has already demonstrated its worth. Over 20,000 patients currently have access to the hospital’s patient engagement portal, which accounts for approximately 11% of their follow-up waiting lists for PIFU. This achievement translates into improved patient engagement, enhanced outcomes, increased satisfaction, and a significant reduction in Did Not Attends (DNAs, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint. Furthermore, the carbon footprint is also reduced by letters being digitised – and minimising the use of paper. By empowering patients and adopting a collaborative, patient-centred approach, healthcare providers can prevent health condition development or progression and, in turn, optimise clinician time to enhance elective care recovery.