News, NHS trust

Gateshead Health NHS launches patient engagement platform

The breast services clinic at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust is set to pilot a new patient engagement platform in an effort to reduce the trust’s reliance on paper systems, reduce associated costs and ultimately improve patient experience.

The new platform has been designed to provide a “quick and easy way to accept, cancel or amend an appointment, view appointment correspondence” as well as source helpful information related to an individual patient’s care needs. It has been co-designed with NHS-owned digital health company Health Call, with the trust highlighting how it is fully integrated with existing hospital systems and accessible via the NHS App to negate the need for patients to create separate log-in details. In terms of features, the platform has secure two-factor authentication, full audit history and includes role-based access control to safeguard patient information, the trust added.

The trust’s breast services clinic will begin piloting the platform this month, with a view to expand its availability across all relevant clinical areas by November.

Kris Mackenzie, group director of finance and digital at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, commented that “through this platform, patients will be supported to easily manage and keep track of their appointments – leading to fewer missed appointments, which will in turn help reduce waiting lists. We are also committed to operating as efficiently and sustainably as possible and the new platform will help us reduce our carbon footprint and use of consumables.”

Ian Dove, managing director at Health Call, added: “The launch of this platform not only sets a new standard for patient communication but will enable the trust to streamline its operation, significantly reducing the 770,000 letters it sends annually to deliver more sustainable efficient healthcare.”

On the topic of digital health platforms, Public Health Wales has announced the launch of a new digital platform designed to tackle health inequalities in Wales, which will draw together information, case studies and past interventions to encourage the sharing of good practice.

Earlier this month, NHS England announced an expansion to its online ‘matching’ platform to include cancer, diagnostic checks and outpatient appointments. The platform allows staff to “view and add available surgery slots in hospitals across the country, including independent sector capacity” as part of efforts to allocate patients, and has since January been used to enable 1,700 offers of support.