Beyond COVID-19: Sustainable solutions for healthcare

sustainable solutions for healthcare
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Mike Sanders, Chief Executive Officer at Vital Hub UK Group of Companies, explains the importance of delivering sustainable solutions for healthcare in support of the whole patient journey beyond COVID-19

COVID-19 has indeed fundamentally altered life for all of us over the last year. In business, we often talk about ‘paradigm shifts’, ‘compelling events’ or ‘catalysts for change’. The global pandemic, without doubt, falls into these areas. The delivery of healthcare solutions has seen changes on a scale and pace that I don’t think any of us would have thought possible, but to be successful, technology needs to go hand-in-glove with patients and people. Our hearts go out to all of those personally affected by the pandemic. We have seen our healthcare colleagues go ‘above and beyond’ and we have aimed to support them with our suite of award-winning solutions from within our VitalHub portfolio. Solutions that deliver all aspects of patient flow within the overall patient journey, including digital pre-operative assessments, virtual (integrated with our physical) patient flow management, mobile app, real-time data sharing across elective care pathways and geographic areas and clinical decision support tools.

Pre-pandemic, the NHS Long Term Plan outlined that, over the next five years, ‘redesigned hospital support will be able to avoid up to a third of outpatient appointments – saving patients 30 million trips to hospital and saving the NHS over £1 billion a year’. The pandemic has provided a catalyst for the introduction of this redesigned way of delivering care. Safely managing the flow of patients in and around hospital buildings, or ensuring they remain at home when appropriate, has proved crucial in helping Trusts slow the spread of the virus whilst maintaining patient care levels.

Supporting a reduction of outpatient appointments and improvements to social distancing measures for patients attending hospital, Intouch with Health and Synopsis released a collection of new solutions throughout 2020.

Intouch’s integrated virtual consultation technology

Launched at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Intouch’s integrated virtual consultation technology supports the management of all remote patients alongside patients physically presenting at hospital in one dashboard. Integrated, blended patient flow delivers a streamlined user experience for clinicians, enabling virtual consultations to be managed and conducted within the existing hospital systems, avoiding a cohort of siloed systems that often prevent real-time data sharing.

Supporting social distancing measures, Intouch released a new feature within its Mobile Appointment Manager app, enabling mobile patient check-in. Patients attending hospitals, including Poole Hospital can check-in for their appointment using their phone, without entering the hospital. They are then called for their appointment through the app, therefore, reducing numbers inside waiting rooms. The app utilises GPS data to ensure patients are within the hospital’s vicinity before allowing patients to use the mobile check-in process.

Synopsis Home, SHREWD Elective & MCAP

The launch of Synopsis Home at Worcestershire NHS Foundation Trust, just as the pandemic hit, has enabled patients to complete their pre-operative assessment health questionnaire from the comfort and safety of their home – avoiding unnecessary hospital visits. Synopsis Home is supporting hospitals beginning to tackle the elective surgery backlog by increasing patient throughput to theatre whilst reducing the volume of face-to-face assessments. When used in conjunction with Synopsis iQ, clinicians benefit from risk assessment algorithms, so risks can be highlighted and mitigated out transparently. Waiting list management supports staff to fill any available theatre slots at short notice to maximise theatre utilisation.

Mike Sanders, CEO of the VitalHub UK Group commented: “All of these solutions are integrated with the hospital’s PAS/EPR, creating a joined-up technological infrastructure at Trust level, which can be scaled across geographical regions at ICS level, realising operational and experience benefits previously unobtainable.”

Playing a pivotal role in this system-wide response, Transforming Systems developed SHREWD Elective through their award-winning operational management portfolio, SHREWD.

This real-time data sharing solution was launched in collaboration with NHS England at Kent and Medway ICS, to provide a critical strategic overview of elective care pathways across the region.

SHREWD Elective takes complex digitised data from multiple healthcare providers across a geographical footprint, including the independent sector, and creates an instant, whole-system visibility of demand and capacity, delivering prescriptive intelligence to empower decision-makers with the key information needed to better co-ordinate and streamline patient flow.

This single version of the truth identifies growing pressure for planned care by speciality and sub speciality, helping to load balance and support mutual aid transfers which enables an integrated, tactical response to resolve excessive waits and delays, improving flow and offering safer, more effective care for patients.

“SHREWD Elective gives us everything we need to know at the drop of a hat, live, all in one place, through our handheld devices. It gives us that all-important, ‘helicopter view’ never seen before in planned care. With the addition of independent sector information, this is the operational tool of the future for elective care, with everything you need for management resourcing all in one place,” Divisional Director Planned Care at Kent & Medway ICS comments.

Further supporting the NHS Long Term Plan, and addressing unnecessary hospital admissions, is our clinical decision support tool, MCAP. MCAP enables clinicians to make objective, evidence-based assessments of whether patients are being treated at the right level of care based on their individual clinical need. MCAP improves patient flow by optimising Clinical Reasons to Reside, identifying appropriate care settings for patients and increasing MFFD (Medically Fit For Discharge). The solution enables teams to tackle delayed transfers of care, stranded patients and supports a reduction in Length of Stay.

Making a difference in healthcare

As CEO of the VitalHub Group of Companies in the UK, I am proud of the difference we are making in healthcare in the UK and internationally. One thing that we have learned over the last year, even more, is that we will continue to innovate and adapt and evolve our solutions to support both planned care and unplanned care.


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