Elective recovery tech fund projects revealed

Digital projects that will be part of the elective recovery fund have been revealed – with at least one highlighted in every region of England.

The fund was set up to support NHS organisations to “accelerate the uptake of digitally supported care and offer it to more patients”, with a focus on supporting those patients who need surgery or specialists advice, and to improve patient experience and outcomes across planned or elective pathways.

The funding is part of the £700 million being made available through the Targeted Investment Fund, which aims to help the NHS tackle waiting lists and the elective care backlog.

Over 400 projects will be supported over the course of the year, with a focus on: home-based pre-surgical support; early discharge and home rehabilitation; use of patient facing tools for communication and personalised follow-up care; digital solutions to streamline elective administrative processes.

Elective recovery projects announced so far include work in areas such as digital patient management platforms, orthopaedics, surgical and musculoskeletal pathways, remote monitoring, apps, digital pre-assessment and patient portals.

The chosen initiatives also cover a wide area – from Bedford, Milton Keynes and Cornwall, through to Leicestershire, London, Sheffield, Southampton, and St Helens and Knowsley.

The projects that have successfully secured funding are:

  • East of England – Bedford Hospital NHS Foundation Trust plans to use digital and data solutions to transform its Orthopaedic elective care pathway. Using Lifebox, Definition Health’s total surgery platform and the digital consent platform, Concentric, the trust will implement digital preoperative assessment. Other aspects will include providing rehabilitation and health advice to patients on waiting lists, digital consent, and remote monitoring of post-surgery recovery to help prevent readmissions.
  • East of England – Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust aims to use its data and digital to improve its digital patient management platforms. The trust currently has two platforms that support patients – mymobility and Painpad – and will use the investment to enable the write back of key data from the mymobility platform into the hospital’s Cerner electronic patient record.
  • London – All of the acute hospitals across South West London have partnered to remotely support patients on the musculoskeletal (MSK) pathway. The new model will use a digital programme from getUBetter to provide patients on physiotherapy and pre-surgical waiting lists, as well as outpatients and those recovering after surgery, with 24/7 digital support. Symptom checking, nudges, videos, exercises and outcome measures will all be included.
  • Midlands – A remote monitoring service covering 132 GP practices, and an additional 12 pathways of care, is being implemented across Leicestershire. It’s hoped that this will allow clinical teams to keep track of patients with chronic conditions, without the need for them to leave the comfort of their own home.
  • North East and Yorkshire – Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will focus on using data and digital solutions to guide patients through their surgical journeys. The delivery will include home based support with information packages and digital pre-assessment, as well as the integration of a patient app which can be used for communication. The tool used will be MyPathway, a digital clinical management platform, which will offer telemonitoring, remote monitoring, digital triage, the collection of patient-reported outcomes and experiences, and self-management support for patients with long-term conditions or those on waiting lists.
  • North West – St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will seek to optimise its surgical patient pathway, aiming to improve efficiencies ‘from outpatient booking and consent, through to management of patients on the day of surgery, discharge and beyond’. Voice recognition software and improved patient communications tools will be part of the package, while surgical pathway will be redesigned to include technologies such as eConsent and the Bluespier theatre management system.
  • South East – University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s project will include scaling up My Medical Record across surgical pathways and integrating it with other clinical systems, enabling more patients to benefit from usage of their own personal health record. A virtual ward will also be set up for trauma patients ahead of surgery.
  • South West – Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is basing its project around the improvement of patient experience while waiting for elective surgery, by offering people at home pre-surgery assessments to prepare them in advance. It’s hoped that monitoring, self-management, advice and at home assessments, will lead to more patients being fully optimised for surgery and able to be brought forward if slots are made available, as well as enabling better use of theatres and efficient list booking.

To find out more about the fund and its projects, visit the dedicated NHSX site.