Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation trust has rolled out a digital-first pathway solution to help reduce administration burdens on staff.

The trust has adopted DrDoctor’s patient-facing technology within its endoscopy diagnostic service. The technology is already benefiting both staff and patients by cutting down the time it takes to gather pre-op information and to keep patients informed.

The technology enables the trust to send reminder messages ahead of appointments, pre-assessments to patients in advance of surgery and digital letters. This frees up staff to focus on patient-centred care, instead of spending time making phone calls. It also helps to engage patients more fully in their care.

The streamlining of the endoscopy service has seen the time taken to complete a pre-assessment before appointments fall from 26 minutes to 19 minutes at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. At West Middlesex the fall has been even more dramatic – from 32 minutes to just 12 minutes.

Bruno Botelho, director of digital operations at the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust, said: “Thanks to DrDoctor, we have established an infrastructure to address the evolving needs of our patients and staff. By digitally engaging with patients we’re helping to release the capacity pressures our staff face. I’m really pleased that we can now provide a more efficient service to patients and provide more personalised care.”

DrDoctor’s functionality is also helping to cut the number of do not attends and cancellations. It can send email and text notifications to patients to ensure they still require and can attend their appointments. Additionally, electronic broadcast messaging alerts patients to changes to clinics, rather than staff having to call patients. Digital reminder letters mean that patients can view correspondence instantly eliminating the risk of important letters being lost in the post

The success of the rollout across endoscopy diagnostics has resulted in the trust planning to roll out the digital pathway in other specialities, and to integrate it with its trust’s Cerner system.

Tom Whicher, CEO of DrDoctor, added: “One of our main ambitions is to provide a patient engagement platform with components that are critical to the sustainability of NHS trusts and work efficiently for both service users and staff. The work we are doing with Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust is helping to lay the groundwork for clinical change and speedier adoption of a digital first healthcare system, while putting the needs of the patient at its heart.”

The trust is not alone in embracing the patient engagement tools DrDoctor offers. In May this year the technology was introduced to University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and currently more than 30 NHS trusts make use of the service.