Going Remote to Tackle the NHS Backlog
Members of The Royal College of Surgeons recently warned there could be a “tsunami” of cancelled routine operations this winter as the NHS copes with rising numbers of coronavirus patients. According to recent data, more than two million people have been waiting longer than 18 weeks for routine operations, with 83,000 waiting more than a year.
The situation is equally challenging for life-limited illnesses such as cancer. Recent studies suggest a 25% backlog in referrals due to COVID-19 could result in 181 additional lives lost, with curable diseases becoming terminal after waiting for treatment.
To minimise the impact of the pandemic and reduce the backlog in routine services, hospitals and NHS Trusts need to be able to maximise available resources while adhering to social distancing measures.
The boom in digital consultations
One significant consequence of the pandemic has been the accelerated adoption of digital healthcare IT services to support the national response to coronavirus.
Remote hospital outpatient appointments have been shown to keep patients safe by reducing unnecessary travel and as of May 2020 there had been more than 79,000 consultations conducted remotely. The number of remote consultations started at around 200 per day but has rapidly increased to thousands per day.
How Wellbeing can help
In response to the demand for more digital solutions that enable safer working practices, we have introduced a series of new features to help organisations maintain or reset routine services in line with COVID-19 guidance.
eConsent has played a significant role in making electronic consent a permanent feature of NHS services. We have added a Digital Signature feature which further facilitates remote consent to treatment processes, reducing contact and unnecessary visits to hospital for pre-op assessments. It enables patients to review consent forms thoroughly and make more informed decisions. Elemental TV hosted a panel discussion with our customers Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust on the role of digital consent and remote consultations during the pandemic, which you can watch here.
We also recently launched a new Patient Attend feature for Cris, which enables radiology departments to implement social distancing measures in line with COVID-19 guidelines. Patients can check-in for their appointments remotely and simply wait to be notified, removing the need to sit in a waiting room.
If you would like to arrange a call about our remote services, contact us here.