Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) is to go-live with Wellola’s patient communication platform, Portasana, to help the trust meet national targets for reducing waiting list backlogs.

The new platform, which was formerly selected last April, will digitise up to two million patient communications every year. The hope is that it will help to reduce the number of missed appointments of Did Not Attends (DNAs) in the Birmingham region. In addition, it will also help to free up workplace capacity by automating patient communications.

Patients will be able to access the Portasana platform either from BCHC’s website or via an app. They will be able to view their appointments, medical records and healthcare letters plus access educational resources provided by their clinician.

The second phase of the rollout – set to happen early this year – will also give patients the functionality to cancel and reschedule appointments, fill in online assessments and access virtual care pathways.

Dr Jon Higham, chief clinical information officer at the trust, said: “We’re rolling out the Portasana patient portal at a crucial time for the trust.

“Demand for services has never been higher, and like other NHS organisations, tackling the elective backlog to free up capacity for more patients is one of our top priorities. Digitising administrative tasks and clinical pathways is going to play a major role in supporting us to do this.

“We know expanding digital capabilities across BCHC will provide much needed flexibility for patients around their care, while freeing up time for clinicians to give back to patients who need it most.”

By giving patients the power to manage some aspects of their care, it will free up staff’s time, allowing them to focus on patients who need care more urgently. This will allow the trust to work towards the NHS England target of eliminating one-year elective waits by March 2025.

Wellola’s Portasana will integrate with the Birmingham trust’s electronic patient record, Rio. Elements of the modularised platform can be switched on when they’re needed, allowing the system to grow with the trust’s digital journey.

Sonia Neary, CEO, and co-founder of Wellola, said: “NHS hospitals are facing significant pressures, and we will work with BCHC to support patients and, where appropriate, allow them to take control of their care from the comfort of their own home, so time can be released back to trust staff to focus on those who need it most.”