Reducing outpatient appointments using digital information

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is the country’s leading organisation when setting the pace for integrated care.  It is also a leading trust for innovation, with many initiatives reaching across the hospital and the community it serves.

One area that has been particularly successful has been the use of digital information to transform pathways of care, resulting in reduced demand and costs.  This has been achieved through a partnership that was set up between the Trust and Rocklands Media Ltd. to form Health and Care Innovations LLP (HCI).

HCI has produced and implemented an online library of over 500 health information videos that support and educate patients across a range of care pathways. They are now a key partner in the Trust’s transformation programme with significant reductions being made in outpatient appointments, spanning multiple specialties including cardiology, maternity, physiotherapy, seeing savings of £350,000.

Angiogram pre-admission assessments is one particular pathway that has seen outstanding results through one video alone, ‘Having an Angiogram’.

Patients were provided with a link to the video and were given the option to watch it at home instead of coming in for a face to face appointment.  By offering patients a choice, this simple digital intervention achieved a 22% reduction in outpatient appointments.

For those that still opted to come in for an appointment, the cardiac centre at Torbay Hospital replaced one-to-ones with group clinics and played the video followed by Q&A.  This resulted in an 85% reduction in nurse time each week.

This is a cost saving of £20,676 in one year alone from just one video.

Similar results have been seen in podiatry, where 80% of follow-up appointments are now avoided after nail surgery. Likewise, in physiotherapy, providing patient information digitally has reduced Band 5 face to face follow-up appointments by 30%, as patients are now able to follow a virtual rehabilitation programme at home.

It is clear how the provision of digital information through the videos and online libraries has been key to reducing outpatient appointments, but the rheumatology department identified that being able to communicate with and manage their RA patients online would create more capacity and the patients themselves feel more supported. The ‘Rheumatology Connect’ app was commissioned and now neurology are following suit with MS Connect, and other ‘Connect’ apps are now in the pipeline for the management of long-term conditions.

Dr Matt Halkes, Clinical Director of Commercial Services, Innovation and Digital Transformation at the Trust says “Digital transformation is integral to our success as trust.  Like everyone, we’re struggling with increasing demand, especially in outpatients, but we are performing better than the national averages.  We want to make digital information standard practice within our health system so that we can deliver even more savings in the months to come.”

Director of HCI, Richard Wyatt-Haines, sees the impact that his team are having every day in pathways of care and says “The opportunity for trusts is enormous, and the question is not whether an impact can be made, but how much of a reduction in demand and costs should be targeted?”

HCI are keen to help trusts grasp these opportunities. Find out more about their work in transforming healthcare using digital information at or start a conversation by emailing