Forward Healthcare Awards 2021 finalists: five excellent examples of enhancing care through technology

The Forward Healthcare Awards 2021, in association with CCube Solutions, give the team here at Leading Healthcare – and our panel of expert judges – the chance to recognise all the excellent work taking place in the world of health and care.

The awards week begins on 6 September 2021 and will see the seven days spent showcasing innovations, ideas, partnerships, pilots and more.

We’ll announce the finalists and the winners and celebrate those that took part through a series of features, videos, and digital content.

As always, we begin our awards season by taking a closer look at our ‘featured finalists’, on this occasion, we focus on the category of ‘enhancing care through technology’.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation TrustRelatives’ Line, Virtual in Hospital Visiting and Letters to a Loved One

The pandemic brought virtual visiting solutions into the foreground of intensive care units, and a wide range of services were introduced by Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust to address the need for virtual visiting.

The project was a result of all visitors being prohibited from visiting loved ones in hospitals, as set out by the government in March 2020.

In order to facilitate hospital visits in the most trying circumstances, the team at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust started Virtual in Hospital Visiting using Microsoft Teams to allow for patients to connect with loved ones.

Alongside the move towards virtual visiting, the Trust worked to produce “Letters to a Loved One” which allowed family members to send letters and photographs through in a safe and secure way, 7 days a week.

Additional funding for tablets and carts has been secured by the Trust to improve the Virtual in Hospital Visiting scheme, as well as a 12-month continuation extension of the current range of services.

DrDoctorNUH enabling digital pathways with DrDoctor to transform outpatient care

Our next entry into the enhancing care through technology category, is from DrDoctor and their work with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to improve outpatient pathways.

The new digital pathways includes a digital review platform, a patient portal and video consultation software. The enabling digital pathways scheme has seen almost 80,000 patients use the service to date.

The NHS Long Term Plan outlined the need for ICSs to digitally transform their services to reduce patient visits by a third and in the latest edition of NHS operational guidance, ICSs were requested to accelerate the delivery of outpatient transformation.

31 clinics have been fully converted to video, out of 300,000 patients, over 78,000 have used the outpatient pathway, and in result saved a total of £428,000.

The pathway has seen a time-saving for clinicians; previously the average review and outcome questionnaire took up to 22 minutes, but now it can be done in as little as five minutes.

Patient satisfaction with the service is high with feedback scores ranging from 4.5 to 5 and clinicians have reported that patients are “thrilled” with the pathway.

Synopsis – Improving patient load balancing using digital pre-operative assessments

Our third entry into the enhancing care through technology category is from Synopsis, on their work to introduce digital pre-operative assessments.

At the peak of the pandemic, across a 12-week period, 28 million scheduled operations were cancelled, leading to increased pressure on healthcare systems across the world.

The synopsis platform “takes a hybrid approach to pre-operative data gathering and streamlines the pre-operative assessment process.”

Sypnosis is currently deployed at North Bristol NHS Trust, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to improve patient load balancing.

Jonathan Lofthouse, Site Chief Executive, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Synopsis allows us to access patients for pre-operative care who ultimately might not go on to have their operation at the King’s site but may have their care transferred to another provider in the south-east London area. The tool allows us to initiate diagnostics elements, initiate a strong, structured and quality marked pre-operative assessment processes, and transfer that information with the patient to another elective care unit in the south-east London area.

“In addition, using Synopsis across the King’s College group is really supporting our efforts to improve patient safety across planned surgery, by harnessing digital technology and algorithms that are calibrated and based to identify immediate risk, clinical concerns, and in so doing, really aid the triaging process to allow clinicians to make more informed decisions.”

Doctify – Improving care through the digital transformation of patient feedback

Our fourth entry into the category, is from Doctify and their efforts to improve patient feedback.

Doctify, was co-founded by two NHS surgeons in 2016 and aims by 2023 to have reached 30 million patients.

The entry stated: “Previously the patient feedback process could be difficult, and would use paper-based methods, with patients often submitting their feedback through the post, this created delays.”

Doctify aims to eradicate these issues by providing tablets and QR codes to collect online reviews. The reviews then go through an authentication process which typically takes from 24 – 48 hours.

The digital forms used by Doctify, eliminate the need for paper and give clinicians a greater insight into the patient experience.

The Doctify platform is a closed review system, so patients can trust the reviews posted and invitations are only sent to those who have had a verified appointment with a healthcare provider.

Lantum and Greater Manchester: serving nearly 3 million patients with one connected primary care workforce bank

Our final entry into the enhancing care through technology category is from Lantum and Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and their initiative that solves primary care staffing problems in the Greater Manchester region.

Their project resulted in a system-wide staff bank with Lantum, to tackle issues with time-consuming, and unpredictable locum staffing solutions.

A single shared primary care workforce bank was introduced and was made available to all GPs within the area.

Staff that are on the bank are notified through the Lantum website or the mobile app, and can search for work on the platform within a set distance.

So far 736 GPs are currently using the bank, with 394 practices fully onboard. The platform also includes several other primary care settings including walk-in centres, GP streaming in hospitals, COVID hubs, acute home visiting services, extended access hubs, and 111 centres.

After a year of the partnership, the workforce bank is estimated to save Greater Manchester over £1.1 million.