Intouch with Health named as a finalist at the Forward Healthcare Awards 2021

Intouch with Health is delighted to announce its nomination at The Forward Healthcare Awards 2021. Intouch with Health has been named as a finalist in the Supporting Healthcare Teams Through Technology category in response to how its digital patient flow technology is helping Trusts bring outpatient appointments back up to speed following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 forced the cancellation of thousands of outpatient appointments at hospitals across the UK. Now, outpatient teams across the country are working tirelessly to ensure patients can access treatment as soon as possible through rescheduled appointments. The volume of patients currently waiting for confirmation of their rescheduled appointment or waiting to attend a rescheduled appointment is extremely high, meaning healthcare teams across outpatients need access to technology that helps them tackle the backlog in an efficient and safe way.

Already deployed in hospitals across the UK, a trio of integrated digital solutions within the Intouch with Health Platform are supporting outpatient teams tackle the backlog. Mobile Appointment Manager, and Activity Manager and Room & Resource Manager are helping staff to tackle the backlog of appointments by maximising resources, creating pre-planned workstreams that save time, and – importantly - support infection prevention measures.

Mobile Appointment Manager

Supporting healthcare teams to deliver rescheduled appointments as efficiently and safely as possible starts when a patient arrives for their appointment and uses Mobile Appointment Manager to register their arrival. Patients simply check-in through an app on their smart phone or tablet when they are close to the hospital building and can avoid waiting rooms by choosing to wait at a nearby coffee shop or in their cars before being notified to proceed to their scheduled appointment.

Speaking at the time of the go-live, Michele Roberts, Outpatients Department General Manager at Poole Hospital said:

Mobile check-in helps us safely manage the flow of patients in the department at any one time, for example by giving them the ability to check-in in on arrival in the hospital vicinity, and then wait there comfortably and safely before being notified via the app when it is time to move to their clinic area for their scheduled appointment.

“Not only does this give patients much greater convenience and flexibility to avoid busy waiting areas and choose where and how they wait for their appointment, but it also supports our infection prevention measures by, for example, reducing the number of patients inside the hospital and minimising the requirement for interaction with patients and reception staff. Patients can safely self-distance in outside waiting areas / their cars etc. until they are called for their appointment through the app.”

Activity Manager

When a patient has arrived for their appointment, Activity Manager allows outpatient staff to plan, monitor and manage any activities and tests they require during the appointment, via a central digital dashboard accessible across the hospital’s network.

By proactively planning and managing each patient’s journey through Activity Manager, Trusts including ABMU (Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University) Health Board can ensure clinics are prepared for tests and activities in advance of each patient’s arrival, thus reducing downtime during the patient’s appointment and ensuring their journey is as efficient as possible.

Suzanne Rodgers, Programme Manager, ABMU (Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University) Health Board, provided this comment once the solution had been deployed at the trust:

“As a result (of using Activity Manager), we are able to gain a detailed understanding of the whole patient journey from a multidisciplinary perspective. Since going live, we have received positive feedback from our clinical, administrative and senior management teams. Our patient surveys have also collated fantastic feedback across the board.”

In addition, planning and coordinating tests and activities in advance using Activity Manager is saving each patient an average of 35 minutes during their appointment time, giving the patient a better experience and improving operational efficiency across outpatients.

Room & Resource Manager

On average, between 30 and 40% of outpatient clinic rooms booked do not end up being used because of clinic cancellations. With hospital staff needing to work as efficiently as possible to process the current backlog of outpatient appointments caused by the pandemic, wasted or underutilised rooms and spaces only serve to work against their efforts. Room & Resource Manager is helping teams to unlock the 30-40% of unused rooms to maximise available resources.

Using full integration with each Trust’s PAS or EPR, outpatient staff can access real-time updates and visibility on the status of a room as well as being alerted to any cancelled clinics in real-time. Staff can the re-allocate or re-book rooms, ensuring they do not stand empty.

Issie Macniven, Matron for Outpatients at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, provided the following after the solution had been deployed at the trust:

“We chose Room and Resource Manager as it provides the Trust with all the functionality that we need.

“We are really looking forward to managing our clinic and meeting rooms from one central point, having access to instant and real time availability and capacity to maximise the use of our resources. We will also be able to forward plan and book ad-hoc clinics with the reassurance that the information is correct, with excellent communication lines between all parties involved.”

Intouch with Health named as a finalist at the Forward Healthcare Awards