News, NHS trust

Functionality updates to Patients Know Best portal at University Hospitals of North Midlands

University Hospitals of North Midlands has updated the functionality of their Patients Know Best (PKB) online portal, with the addition of two new services for lymphoedema outpatients and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients along with a weight management questionnaire.

The lymphoedema service offered through the portal is designed to support patients with self-management, to assist with prevention of complications, and to promote the incorporation of the service into a community setting. Similarly, the addition of the inflammatory bowel disease service has enabled PKB to be utilised for messaging and forwarding information and video content to patients.

The two services have enabled lymphoedema and IBD teams to utilise “quick and secure messaging”, says Nicholas Harrison, IM&T PKB project manager, “along with a library rich with useful information for their patients to access.”

Nicholas comments that more than 10 services across the trust are currently live using PKB and adds: “It has been fantastic to work closely with each team to understand their challenges and requirements… This will bring great benefit to both the patient and the service when handling queries or concerns, keeping the patients in control and informed about their treatment and care.”

As well as the two new services, UHNM is a pilot site for the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme, which has led to the introduction of a short questionnaire on the portal to assess eligibility and speed up referral. Rather than requiring a phone call to potential patients to gather details and share information, using PKB’s functionality means “eligible patients will now be identified instantly into the process and checks will be conducted immediately for a timely and early automated referral to the service”.

Estimates are that this method of referral has saved more than 64 days of administrative time to date.

Heidi Poole, deputy director of IM&T, said: “It’s great to see our teams drive original innovative uses of our tools to drive effective processes and improve services for patients.”

In October, we looked at a study exploring the effectiveness of education through patient portals, with the research team noting “patient portals are becoming a powerful tool for patient education and engagement, and show promise as a means of achieving the quadruple aim of healthcare” – to improve patient outcomes, improve patient experience, reduce costs and improve provider experience at work.

In news from elsewhere in the country, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells has become one of the latest Trusts to launch the Patients Know Best portal, providing patients the ability to manage their own hospital appointments from a range of devices at any time.