Building Better Healthcare Award win for the Dorset Health Village

Intouch with Health and the University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust have been named as the winners of the Best Use of Technology (Acute Care) category at the Building Better Healthcare Awards 2022.

This is in recognition of the innovative and ambitious Dorset Health Village project - which transformed the top floor of a department store into an outpatient clinic, to support the trust tackle a backlog of more than 110,000 pandemic-delayed appointments across Dorset.

This project was also featured in the recent VitalHub UK webinar series ‘Patient Flow Transformation 2022’ and can be watched on-demand here.

Project Background

In April 2021, facing a backlog of more than 110,000 pandemic-delayed outpatient appointments, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust (UHD) began a ground-breaking project to open a remote outpatient assessment clinic in a department store.

As part of the trust’s innovative and ambitious ‘ThinkBIG’ initiative to help them tackle their backlog of outpatient appointments, clinically-led plans were drawn up to transform what was an empty shop floor into 1,600 square metres of partitioned clinical space, taking the trust’s services into the heart of the community.

The remote outpatient assessment clinic would provide UHD with additional outpatient capacity, helping to increase patient throughput and tackle the trust’s backlog of appointments, whilst also providing the local population with a more convenient access to the trust’s healthcare services.

The Challenge

With waiting lists at 110,000 patients, the clinic would need to take lessons from the Nightingale Hospitals and the Covid-19 vaccination clinics to deliver high-volume, low complexity, face-to-face appointments in a highly efficient manner.

UHD identified two key priorities to transform the top floor of a department store into a remote assessment clinic:

1. Efficient patient flow management

  1. Data integration with the trust’s main systems – both Patient Administration Systems (PAS) used across the trust’s hospitals to support efficient patient flow and prevent data duplication

UHD conducts over one million outpatient appointments annually, and is comprised of three hospitals:

  • Royal Bournemouth Hospital
  • Poole Hospital
  • Christchurch Hospital
The Outcome

The Dorset Health Village opened on 20 December 2021, with more than 100 patients attending breast-screening, dermatology and ophthalmology appointments at the clinic on the first day.

When a patient arrives at the clinic, they are checked-in using iPads, which immediately notify staff via the Flow Manager dashboard that the patient is on-site.

On the Flow Manager dashboard, staff can monitor:

  • when the patient has checked-in
  • when the patient has been called
  • when the appointment started
  • when the appointment finished

Patients can also choose to check-in at the clinic using their smartphone via the app, which supports social distancing efforts and infection control measures, and provides patients with extra choice and convenience.

Following the merger that sees UHD running two Patient Administration Systems, the Intouch with Health team integrated Flow Manager with both systems, allowing staff to simultaneously manage data from patients attending the clinic, alongside patients attending an appointment at hospital. This ensures systems are updated in real-time, avoiding data duplication and creates ‘one source of truth’ across the entire trust.

  • 8,442 patients have attended appointments at the Dorset Health Village (20 Dec 2021 - 2 Sep 2022)
  • Patients have been seen across 9 services: Breast Screening, Orthopaedics, Dermatology, Physio, AAA Screening, Ophthalmology, Respiratory, General Surgery and Maternity
  • Dermatology have nearly tripled their pre-pandemic capacity, now seeing up to 96 patients in a 3-hour morning clinic (compared to previous average of 33 patients per clinic)
  • Approximately 1,300 outpatients per week will pass through the Dorset Health Village when full clinic use is achieved (the clinic is currently in Phase One of the trust’s approach, operating at 56% utilisation)
  • 2,383 Covid-19 vaccinations were delivered at the clinic in the week before Christmas 2021
  • 98% of patients that have attended the facility rate the experience as ‘good’ or ‘very good’
  • The increase in convenience and reliability of the service has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of lost appointments due to cancellations (when compared to previous Community initiatives)
Building Better Healthcare Aware Win - The Dorset Health VIllage