Birmingham NHS trust works with DrDoctor to implement digital solutions

Hospital trust introduces digital tools to support and improve patient experience for two million patients

A new suite of digital tools will maximise the number of appointments and give patients greater control

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) is working with DrDoctor to launch a suite of digital patient engagement tools as it looks to introduce new ways of delivering outpatient care.

The trust, which sees over two million people a year, has introduced technology used by more than 30 other trusts that will give patients more control over their care, maximise the number of available appointments, and maintain effective communication with patients.

These tools are an important building block in our longer terms plans to improve patient care by introducing new technology and innovations

These products will save time for staff and patients and reduce the number of in-person hospital visits.

With the solution, patients can now view hospital letters online and take part in video consultations on their phone, tablet, laptop or computer, providing more-convenient access to care.

And hospital staff can use digital tools to reduce the time spent managing the booking process, with appointment reminders sent automatically to patients.

Since the new solutions were introduced, staff at the trust have sent almost 55,000 appointment notifications to patients by text messages and email.

It is anticipated that this will reduce by 35% the number of appointments patients do not attend (DNA) - the same rate as seen by its neighbouring specialist trust, the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust has sent out more than 24,000 digital letters, with 60% of patients choosing to view these online

More than 24,000 digital letters have been sent out, with around 60% of patients choosing to view these online. And patients who do not view the letters online receive correspondence via post.

The video consultation functionality integrates with the electronic patient record at the trust, allowing it to deliver digital-first healthcare and avoiding the need for some patients to travel to the hospital.

Nick Barlow, director of applied digital healthcare at UHB, said: “Like all NHS trusts, we have had to transform how care is delivered to our patients.

UHB are true leaders in their area and showed dedication to their patients through great organisation skills and thorough testing of trustwide technology

“By working with DrDoctor, we have been able to move the trust’s digital-first plans forwards, allowing us to deliver some consultations remotely.

“The digital appointment tools should also provide greater patient choice in the future, with patients currently able to read outpatient appointment correspondence online.

“These tools are an important building block in our longer terms plans to improve patient care by introducing new technology and innovations.”

The digital solutions were rolled out quickly, following a series of successful rapid-fire pilots of the digital patient engagement platform in February and March this year.

And the digital letters, appointment management, and video consultation platforms are now available for use across all outpatient specialities.

“This programme saw many months of work shrunk into just a handful of weeks,” said Wahida Jabarzai, delivery manager at DrDoctor.

“UHB are true leaders in their area and showed dedication to their patients through great organisation skills and thorough testing of trustwide technology.”

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