Newsroom 21 June 2021

Hampshire Hospitals introduces a digital hub for patients

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Trust sees 65% patient uptake in three months and reduced letter templates from 8,000 to three.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) provides acute hospital services to a population of around 600,000 patients across Hampshire and parts of west Berkshire. Like many NHS Trusts, appointment DNA rates were high often leaving patients waiting a long time for appointment slots.

Previously, HHFT posted appointment letters to patients. With over 8,000 different letter templates available it was difficult to manage and inconsistent. Sending out appointment letters was a costly admin burden.

And when the letter was on its way there was no guarantee it would arrive on time, if at all. Leaving patients having to call in to the hospital and rearrange their appointment. There were a whole heap of appointment slots potentially going to waste.


There’s a simple digital way


In 2019 the Trust undertook a Patient Survey which identified that 75% of patients would prefer to receive appointment notifications by email or SMS. With these changing patient expectations, this confirmed to Hampshire that they needed to reassess how they notified patients about their appointments, making it more convenient for patients to manage their own appointments.

HHFT implemented Netcall’s Patient Hub to make it easier for patients to manage their appointments. Patient Hub is a secure online digital portal, available 24/7. Patients just need their phone or computer and their date of birth to confirm, rebook or cancel appointments at the touch of a button.


Patient Hub is making patient experiences easier and faster 


Feedback from patients is positive. In just three months, an average of 65% of patients now use the online portal. A recent patient case study showed the whole process from sending the appointment to the reschedule takes less than 10 minutes. Patient feedback includes:

  • Mrs W mother of a paediatric patient was amazed at the ease and speed. She attended a consultant appointment with her child, and then before she had left the hospital to go home, she had the e-outcome report and the next appointment offered and accepted.
  • Patient B responded within 3 minutes after the booking advisor had sent the digital notification that they were not able to attend and needed to rebook the appointment. The booking advisor found a slot for the following day, and within 10 minutes of the original message all was confirmed. Patient B was relieved not to have to wait, and the booking team was pleased to see an otherwise empty slot used immediately.
  • Patient C is 84 years old, has a standard mobile phone and uses an iPad. A project team lead supported her to log in using the iPad. She gets call notifications by email (as well as SMS) and is able to successfully manage her appointments.  

Hear it for yourself


 

Accurate consistent patient letters and leaflets


Instead of sending multiple letters to patients, HHFT now sends digital letters straight to the patient’s device. They have gone from managing 8,000 letter types to just three templates. That’s more than a 99.9% saving.

Conditional formatting meets every clinical departments needs allowing rapid updates. Short snippets allow for rapid extra wording inclusions. With the majority of appointments currently being conducted by phone or video, templates are tailored for the appointment type; phone, video or in-person.

The whole process is auditable for quality and clinical uniformity which makes it easy to ensure information is up-to-date.

Dr Tamara Everington, haematology consultant and associate medical director for improvement at HHFT said, “We are hugely excited by this leap forward and strongly believe that this will help our patients to be better supported in their care. We have listened to patient feedback and are focused on making sure patients who come into our hospitals have the best possible experience, from the time they get their first appointment notification to when they have had the care and treatment they need. As well as ensuring patient information remains secure, we know that this will be more cost effective for the NHS and help reduce our carbon footprint.”

Alex Whitfield, chief executive at Hampshire Hospitals added: “This is just one of the ways we are working towards our vision of provide outstanding care for every patient. We are already seeing the positive impact of this work for our patients, and the time staff previously spent on sending out appointment letters is being used to better support patients and make the most of every available appointment. I want to thank all the teams involved in making this a success so far, and I am looking forward to continuing to improve patient care through our digital care journey.”

Mark Holmes, Chief Sales Offices at Netcall, adds: “We are glad to be supporting Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with its ongoing patient experience improvement journey. Our strong heritage of working with Trusts to solve problems with their processes, and make sure every available appointment is used. The online portal makes life easier for patients attending appointments at Hampshire Hospitals and it will also reduce the admin and cost burden on the hospital.”

Learn more about Patient Hub


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