St Helen’s and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has gone live with Refero’s telehealth and video consultation services following a successful pilot.

The technology was trialled in the trust’s cancer drains outreach and stroke review services over the past two years, which saw a 15% reduction in missed appointments.

The trust has extending the telehealth programme to its medicine for older people frailty service; speech and language therapy service; burns and plastics; breast reconstruction service and gastroenterology, liver surveillance service.

Patients are digitally connected with the trust’s clinicians to enable continual engagement via video consultation or messaging through a web portal, smartphone or tablet.

Since the introduction of the technology in the stroke review service the trust saw ‘did not attend’ rates drop from 25% to just 10% in six months.

Rowan Pritchard Jones, medical director at the trust, said: “After a stroke, a patient will have their driver’s license taken away, so they become reliant on public transport or family and friends to bring them into hospital for speech therapy or review appointments.

“Often our patients will need to make a five hour return journey from home to the hospital. Connecting a patient via a video consultation is an invaluable way of reducing their travel time, putting less strain on their recovery and helps us to assess how they are coping in their home environment rather than after a strenuous and tiring journey into the hospital.

“We are reaching the point where telehealth is becoming the norm rather than the novel.

“Most importantly, it’s been the patient’s choice, whereby 100 percent of patients who’ve used video consultations so far, don’t want to revert to coming into the hospital for an outpatients’ appointment.”

Refero’s telehealth solution integrates with the trust’s existing Patient Appointment System (PAS) to provide a platform of collaboration for health and social service providers via video and voice technology to support the continual engagement between a patient and the clinician.

Dan Worman, chief executive of Refero, added: “In an age where people with chronic ill-health are increasingly being cared for in the community, being able to easily communicate digitally with this population is both imperative and lifesaving.

“By providing a communication channel between clinicians and patients, not only will the patient’s needs be met quicker and more efficiently the trust will, most importantly, be able to provide the best care possible for its patients.”