An app which allows patients to see both hospital and primary care information in one place has been rolled out across Rotherham.
Via the Rotherham Health app, patients are able to check their symptoms, view their health record, book appointments with health professionals, order prescriptions, send admin requests to their GP surgeries and complete health questionnaires.
The Rotherham Health app was developed by Substrakt Health and was rolled out by Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to every GP practice in the town.
According to one GP and chair of NHS Rotherham CCG, Dr Richard Cullen, since the functionality for patients being able to self-refer to maternity services went live late last year, GP practices in Rotherham have saved hundreds of hours of admin time by reducing unnecessary appointments and the paperwork associated with the referrals.
Cullen said: “The app provides access to a service directory which signposts patients to local health and care services in Rotherham, and allows patients to refer themselves directly into services such as mental health and maternity without having to telephone or attend unnecessary appointments at their GP surgery.
“This means for example, that patients in Rotherham struggling with their mental health can now book an assessment appointment directly with a psychologist on the app for the following day in many cases. It’s quick and convenient – they can book at any time of the day or night, it ensures early intervention and eliminates the need for these patients to see their GP first as well as significantly reducing the administration burden of NHS teams.”
Recent updates to the app have improved the functionality, with patients now able to see their secondary care appointments and associated information.
James Rawlinson, director of health informatics at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “New functionality just released on the app shows patients the details of their hospital appointments as well as contact information for the relevant department if they need to change or cancel it.
“With around 7-8% of outpatient appointments at the trust previously being missed each month, we hope that providing appointment details in the app will offer a convenient reminder for those who may have lost their appointment letter, reducing ‘did not attends’ (DNAs) which wastes the valuable time of our clinical staff. This will also benefit GP surgeries who often receive calls from patients wanting to change or amend secondary care appointments.”
The developments in Rotherham follow the local trust (The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust) being part of the first wave of the Digital Aspirant programme. At the time when the programme was launched, those involved with the project stated the aim was to accelerate procurement, deployment and most importantly, uptake of the technology that is needed to underpin digital transformation. Furthermore it was hoped Digital Aspirants would raise the bar across the NHS by making sure organisations have a core set of digital capabilities in place.