Secondary Care

Olympus and Inhealthcare partner to target wasted appointments

Inhealthcare has partnered with Olympus to launch a new education service aimed to reduce wasted endoscopy appointments.

The digital service is aimed to support trusts meet their Did Not Attend (DNA) targets, reduce cancer wait times and capture patient reported outcome measures (PROMS).

It will provide a review on how to digitise the endoscopy patient pathway from referral through to post procedure. The service, which will be available from early next year, will help empower patients as they navigate their way through the necessary preparations – ensuring they feel more comfortable about their upcoming endoscopy.

Graham Popham, General Manager Market Access at Olympus, said: “With unprecedented demand on our endoscopy services and pressures on the NHS workforce we wanted to look at how we can support the NHS within the limitations of existing services.”

“DNA rates are a massive opportunity to support the earlier diagnosis goals laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan and help drive efficiency in a system with limited room for growth, as well as patient engagement through education. We hope our partnership will significantly reduce the numbers of wasted procedures, reduce patient wait times and subsequent timelines to diagnosis.”

“By partnering with a digital leader like Inhealthcare we can create a simple easy-to-use platform to support patients across the NHS and beyond.”

The digital platform will remove the traditional paper pack, with patients receiving communications by email, text or automated call in the days and weeks leading up to their procedure. This includes an electronic appointment letter, instructions on how to get to the clinic, frequently asked questions and a medical questionnaire to determine their eligibility and part pre-assess the patient in advance. Around five days before the procedure, patients will be sent information about the necessary dietary changes and bowel preparation, with follow-up reminders explaining how and when to act. Any current medications that need to be halted ahead of the procedure will be picked up in the pre-assessment stage and the patient will receive tailored messages to remind them to stop at the correct time.

Hospital staff will receive an alert as to any patients who have failed to open the communications, creating the opportunity to send further reminders or intervene to ensure the patient is on track to complete the required preparation.

Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, added: “We are proud to be partnering with Olympus to combat cancer in this way.  The NHS Long Term Plan has set out an ambition to detect bowel cancers earlier and reduce the screening age from 60 to 50. NHSX has committed digital experts to national cancer teams to help clinicians improve patient experience.”

“Our partnership with Olympus will help on both fronts, empowering patients and clinicians and creating capacity within hospitals to focus care on those who need it the most.”

“This technology will reduce wasted appointments and has the potential to be scaled across the UK.”