Cumbria Sexual Health Service (CSHS) is set to offer patients the ability to book appointments and order STI self-testing kits online.

With the service taking more than 140 calls per day it looked for a way to reduce pressure on reception staff.

CSHS was already using Inform Health’s system to support controlled in-clinic appointment booking, waiting room management, patient flow and clinical records management. The system was also being used to enhance workflows for follow up and recall, notification of test results and partner notification management.

The service has now extended its use of Inform Health’s software to offer patients tried and tested online booking and postal kit self-testing for common STIs.

Once live, patients will register on the online booking platform and go through a triage process which, based on their responses, determines the care needed and offers an appointment that matches that need.

To obtain a postal testing kit patients will need to register on the platform and complete a short form. Testing kits will then be posted to patients’ homes for them to complete and return.

Integration with lab systems will automate the process of results notification allowing CSHS to bulk notify patients of negative results via text message, while ensuring patients who test positive are notified appropriately. This will speed up the notification process and ensure patients who require treatment receive it as quickly as possible, the service said.

David Morris, sexual health outreach worker at CSHS, said: “Creating a platform for patients to securely book appointments and order postal testing kits online has been part of strategic plans to enhance patient access and reduce pressure on clinic staff for some time.

“As with all sexual health providers, Covid-19 has heightened pressure on our services and prompted us to fast-track implementation of online booking and testing in a bid to free-up precious resource and safeguard patient experience, while promoting better health outcomes.”