At one of our sessions for the April edition of HTN Now, CCube Solutions shared their knowledge and expertise on digital transformation for managing outpatient flow.
For this webcast, we were joined by Vijay Magon, CEO of CCube Solutions, who provided an insightful discussion on the topic, focusing on how digital tools can support patient engagement, outpatient clinic management and attendance management.
To introduce the webcast and get straight to the burning issue of managing elective care, Vijay said: “The numbers are staggering – some of the headlines show 5.5 million are on waiting lists – but I think recent estimates place them over 6 million. Given some of the forecast in addition to that, they [the media] paint a much gloomier picture of a backlog of tens of millions in secondary care, in particular.
“So, staying with the problem, the backlog affects all services within the NHS: primary care, secondary care, mental health services. There isn’t really a clear pathway ahead given that COVID-19, in one form or another, is still with us and any resurgence is simply expected to add to the backlog problem.”
Vijay then focused the discussion on three major factors for outpatient flow transformation, starting with using available data, Vijay commented: “There is an abundance of data all the way from the start point of appointments”, he continued, “leading through to clinical appointments and the data that is collected along the way.”
The second important factor, Vijay explains: ‘This is, a clinician’s use case: a clinician who wants to be quickly notified of appointments and wants to be able to see their clinical appointments for today, this morning or this hour. I want to be able to easily select a patient and review the status about the patient, not just in terms of the appointment logistics but clinical information that is available.”
A final major contributor in managing outpatient flows, Vijay adds, is patient engagement, in which patients should be able to “easily register using an online portal or any device,” rather than remain “tethered” to impractical ways of communication.
Vijay also asserted that patients should be able to “request changes to the appointment – there is emphasis on the word request because patients will not be able to change an appointment but would certainly be able to submit a request to change the appointment and be kept informed of changes.”
Building on the notion of increasing patient engagement and bringing them closer within the inner circle of the healthcare context, Vijay said: “Currently, especially with remote working and remote consultations, the patient is outside of that healthcare setting.
“What we would like to do here is to connect the two using established application interfaces to make sure the patient is not just involved but can positively contribute to the delivery of their care.”
Casting his mind back over a year ago when CCube Solutions developed their very own patient portal, Vijay said: “This allowed both patients in the outside world and clinicians and administrators within the hospital to have the same view of the data and interact with each other using a single portal. That quickly moved on to smartphone-based apps, which in the last six months have been extended to support PIFUs (Patient Initiated Follow Ups).”
Vijay added: “Because a patient is potentially outside of the healthcare setting, it is important to make sure the information transmitted back and forth is via secure and accepted gateways (N3/HSCN).”
Additionally, “the outpatient clinic management and attendance management,” Vijay adds, “is also a key benefit here. For example, if a clinic is running late the patient can get real time information though the app, so if they need to leave half an hour later this would be preferable to waiting somewhere outside of the clinic.” The foundations of this effort, Vijay says, is rooted in CCube Solution’s work within secondary care over the past 20 years, “working with a number of trust and health boards up and down the country in capturing patient information.”
Vijay illuminated the savings of the portal in terms of operational cost and delays, namely postage and printing. “An average hospital spends about a £1 in postage, stationery and labour to send a patient a letter in the UK to notify them about their outpatient appointment – approximately one million outpatient appointments are sent per hospital per year. With the patient portal we believe we can make a significant dent in this circa one million pounds a year cost.”
To conclude the session and provide some stats about the vast quantities of data stored within CCube systems, asserting that using digital patient records is “not new,” Vijay said: “We took a look at some of the sites over the last 10 –15 years or so and we’ve actually collated a lot of data. We are currently looking after half a billion documents containing 52 billion pages for about 33 million patients across all the CCube deployments up and down the country.”
To watch the session in full, please click the link below…