News, NHS trust

Pilot of recovery support app at Kettering General Hospital leads to 15 percent reduction in post-op calls

A pilot of an app designed to support patients in recovery at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has reportedly led to a 15 percent reduction in the number of post-op follow-up calls and a 10 percent decrease in the number of readmissions for complications, with the trust sharing hopes that use of the app can be expanded across departments.

The app, Post Op, has been created by doctors and nurses at the trust in collaboration with tech experts and patients, and aims to encourage self-management, provide patients with information and reduce the need to attend follow-up appointments at hospital. It enables patients to answer questions about their recovery via questionnaires, including questionnaires that can be tailored for particular outcomes. Patients can also post images and videos of wounds for the clinical teams to assess, which the trust says can provide patients with “great reassurance their recovery is progressing”.

One of the aims of the app is to help standardise recovery care, and it has so far been used for elective hip and knee replacements, as well as in colorectal operations.

The trust estimates that use of the app so far has led to NHS savings of around £60,000 per 100 patients, including savings across inpatient appointments, hospitals resources, and associated environmental impacts such as energy consumption and medical waste. Other reported benefits include a 25 percent reduction in patient travel-related carbon emissions; reduced paper use; and improvements around access, with the trust highlighting that the app includes features such as voice navigation and customisable font sizes.

Mr Faizal Rayan, associate specialise in trauma and orthopaedics, said that use of the app is ultimately about making the experience of having an operation at hospital and then recovering afterwards “easier and less stressful for patients”, and added: “It is about using technology to help reduce concerns and give them the confidence that everything is going well. In those cases where people do have problems – such as wound infections or difficulty in moving after joint replacements – we can see from pictures and videos what the problem might be and act quickly to address it if necessary.”

In other news, Papyrus, the national charity supporting young people at risk of suicide, has worked with the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA) to develop an app library containing “trusted apps” for young people to use to access a range of information, support, and advice on mental health.

And elsewhere, NHS North Central London ICB and the Islington GP Federation are trialling an AI solution utilising WhatsApp for cervical cancer screening appointments, with the aim of increasing uptake in cervical cancer screening particularly amongst underserved populations.