University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) has signed an Innovation Partnership agreement with Accurx, a software company joining up healthcare communication around each patient.
Like all NHS Trusts, UHL is aiming to bring down its elective backlog and address long waiting lists for patients. During the Covid-19 pandemic, UHL experienced an 85% increase in its waiting list, meaning it has one of the toughest recovery trajectories of any large Acute trust.
UHL is approaching this through the Innovation Partnership with Accurx, whose intuitive software is being used across multiple services in the trust to administratively and clinically validate waiting lists, as well as reduce unnecessary appointments and DNAs.
The partnership sees Accurx and UHL working closely and collaboratively to design solutions and build products to meet UHL’s elective recovery needs. UHL and Accurx meet monthly with clinical, technical and operational representatives from UHL, to review progress against objectives, ensure technical alignment, identify and manage clinical risk and brainstorm new ideas.
Accurx also provides training and implementation support to teams at UHL to enable successful adoption of products.
In November 2022, UHL and Accurx set a goal to remove 10,000 patients from the waiting list by March 2023. Just eight weeks into the partnership, this goal was hit. Today, 17,000 patients have been removed, demonstrating the commitment from UHL to using innovative technology to tackle their backlog.
Reduction of unnecessary follow-up appointments through PIFU
An additional 3,800 patients who do still require treatment have chosen to be moved onto a patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) pathway.
A digital, triage-first approach to PIFU is helping services manage their PIFU patients digitally, with 1,000 patients added to digital PIFU pathways across three services, which will further help to reduce waiting lists by reducing unnecessary follow-up appointments for patients in active treatment.
SMS appointment reminders are helping to reduce do not attend (DNA) rates in services, many of which are over 10%. Time-intensive face to face appointments to communicate normal scan or test results are being replaced with a simple SMS where appropriate. One service that has piloted this is saving around three hours of clinician time per clinic.
Siobhan Favier, deputy chief operating officer at UHL, said: “This partnership with Accurx illustrates the impact that tech which enables better communication with patients can have on the elective backlog.
“In just a few months, we’ve seen significant results and we’re already starting to explore new areas where SMS messaging can bring further benefits to our trust such as reducing our DNA rates for clinic appointments.”
Dr Satya Raghuvanshi, head of clinical at Accurx, added: “At Accurx, we’ve always believed that user needs should be at the heart of the solutions we develop. With this Innovation Partnership, we have the opportunity to get closest to those at the forefront of delivering care and using our software, so we can learn from them and understand the challenges and opportunities.
“This means we are building software that not only meets, but exceeds their expectations, and therefore has the power to ultimately improve patient experience and outcomes.”