Solent NHS Trust – which covers Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – recently announced the go-live of its new integrated sexual health services.
It’s hoped that Solent’s Personal Health Record (PHR), which has been designed by Inform Health, will lessen the pressure facing clinics and any strain on traditional methods of booking appointments. The record will also provide ‘holistic visibility’ over patient data, allow patients to self-manage their sexual health by creating their own record on a secure site, and be used to anonymously notify those who could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.
According to Inform Health, this makes the south coast trust the first in the UK to go-live with a system that will ‘facilitate an integrated approach’ to the ‘remote provision’ of sexual health services.
The first phase of the implementation will give patients the ability to book and amend clinic appointments online – in an attempt to improve the patient experience and enable digital triage. Integration with in-clinic systems will also allow staff to receive alerts, via push notifications, if patients ‘stray’ from their treatment pathway, and therefore enable ‘pro-active intervention’.
Once all the phases of the implementation are complete, staff at Solent will be able to use the system to give patients access to repeat contraception, postal testing kits, results and prescriptions. The PHR will also provide further support through joined-up, electronic patient records.
Ynez Symonds, Solent’s Sexual Health Services’ Head of Quality and Professions, said: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do so making their lives easier and being able to drill down to see what’s happening with patients in our area, so we can effectively target services, is really important.
“We previously used a system that required patients to input the same demographic information every time they needed to request a testing kit or access condoms online. We know from patient feedback that for some this was a barrier to accessing services. Additionally, our previous system didn’t integrate with our Inform EPR, used in clinics. This meant there was no easy way to see what patients were requesting and when they were returning kits, so it was near enough impossible to obtain a clear picture, assess trends and effectively tailor our future provision.
“Although, like all NHS providers, we’re focused on resetting our services we need to continue to adapt to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission, so PHR remains a top priority for us. I see it marking a real turning point for how patients access services and take greater control of their sexual health and wellbeing. I also think PHR will play an integral role in helping us to better target health promotion through quality data delivered through system integration.”
Susan Bunn, Inform Health’s Commercial Director, added: “Online sexual health self-service software that integrates with in-clinic systems to offer providers and commissioners holistic visibility over patient usage, while encouraging enhanced patient access, convenience and autonomy, supports a number of objectives. It has the potential to significantly reduce operating costs, allow more accurately designed services and targeting of resources, improve health outcomes as well as empowering patients to manage their own health needs and improving patient experience.”