Royal Cornwall Hospital improving outpatient experience with Netcall

Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust (RCHT) is changing its outpatient experience with the help of patient engagement portal Patient Hub. 

RCHT embarked on an outpatient transformation programme with Patient Hub operator Netcall to optimise referrals and give patients greater control and convenience with their appointments – meaning less time travelling to hospital appointments and in waiting rooms — and better access to follow-up hospital care when needed. 

When the trust originally mapped out all the referrals, there were lots of different ways into their organisation. Now they have a single point of entry.

They signpost each referral into different services for face-to-face, remote consultations including telephone and video and management through advice and guidance. Each referral is vetted and triaged to the most appropriate service or provider. 

The new portal includes a single point of referral entry to streamline the patient journey and give the most appropriate treatment; a better experience for patients, with 70% now accessing appointments through the patient portal; and a 56% reduction in DNAs as patients manage their own healthcare. 

This was a step change for RCHT. In the past, they would have set up a different web portal per service. Now they communicate through one portal for all outpatient work, transforming outpatient services for patients. 

The system is helping the trust to save £1,677 per month in otherwise wasted appointments, supporting elective recovery. It also provides an integrated journey through telephony and legacy systems to ensure no patient is left behind. 

Charles Webb, outpatient booking coordinator at RCHT, said: “Now with Patient Hub, our patients have all the relevant information online, whenever they need to check it. It means that we are not going to have so many missed appointments…a big part of my job is making sure clinic spaces aren’t empty and that people get seen as quickly as possible.”

The trust’s operational model is now included as an example in planning guidance to support other trusts looking for case studies to implement their own personalised outpatient’s transformation programme. This is a key component of elective recovery across the NHS this year. 

RCHT is the main provider of acute and specialist care services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It serves a population of around 470,000 people, a figure that increases significantly with visitors during the busiest times of the year. 

Robin Jones, interim chief operating officer at Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust, said: Building on the benefits that patients are able to engage with their appointment slot, patients are now able to adjust and confirm an appointment through the app.

“The DNA rate for those patients is half the trust’s average. It’s a real significant gain for RCHT. The more we engage with our patients through this technology, the less we are seeing appointment slots wasted.”  

As part of the NHS mandate, all non-specialist acute trusts are required to procure a patient portal solution by September.

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.

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