Gateshead Health NHS has launched a new patient engagement platform that is designed to save costs and improve patients’ ability to arrange appointments and find information more easily.
As a trust, Gateshead Health sends approximately 770,000 physical mail items per year, such as appointment letters, clinic outcome letters and a variety of other clinical correspondence. Each piece of mail has an associated cost in the form of materials and postage.
The new patient engagement platform is designed to reduce the trust’s reliance on paper mailing by providing patients with a quick and easy way to accept, cancel or amend an appointment, view appointment correspondence and find helpful information relevant to their appointment and care.
It will also offer email and SMS notifications to remind patients of their appointments and reduce non-attendance. The platform has been developed in collaboration with Health Call, an NHS owned digital health company.
It is fully integrated with existing hospital systems and patients will access it via the familiar NHS App, meaning they don’t need to set up separate log-in details. The platform has secure two-factor authentication, full audit history and includes role-based access control (RBAC) to ensure user access is restricted to the minimum information required.
Kris Mackenzie, group director of finance and digital at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am thrilled that Gateshead Health is the first NHS trust to introduce the full functionality of MyHealthCall Patient Engagement Platform (PEP), a service that will have a positive impact in so many ways.
“Our primary focus is on providing excellent health services to our local community and, through this platform, patients will be supported to easily manage and keep track of their appointments – leading to fewer missed appointments, which will in turn help reduce waiting lists.
“We are also committed to operating as efficiently and sustainably as possible and the new platform will help us reduce our carbon footprint and use of consumables.”
Ian Dove, managing director at Health Call, added: “We are proud to see MyHealthCall PEP live in Gateshead Health NHS today; it marks an important milestone for the trust and digital transformation.
“The launch of this platform not only sets a new standard for patient communication but will enable the trust to streamline its operation to deliver more sustainable efficient healthcare. ”
The platform will initially be piloted in the trust’s breast services clinic starting this month, with an ambition to make it available to all relevant clinical areas by November.
Gateshead is one of five North East NHS foundation trusts that signed a contract with HealthCall in July, to deploy MyHealthCall PEP.
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust also signed the potential five-year deal with Health Call.