Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) is set to go-live with Portasana, Wellola’s patient communication platform.
Portasana will digitise up to two million patient communications each year, freeing up vital workforce capacity and reducing the number of missed appointments or “Did Not Attends” (DNAs) across the region, helping BCHC meet national targets for reducing waiting list backlogs.
BCHC patients and service users will be able to log in to the Portasana platform through the BCHC website or an app, allowing them to view their appointments, medical records and healthcare letters, as well as educational resources provided by their clinician.
Following the second phase of the rollout in early 2023, patients will also be able to cancel and reschedule appointments, complete online assessments and access virtual care pathways.
In circumstances where a patient or service user cannot access the platform, approved family members will be able to sign in and review information on their behalf.
By empowering people to manage aspects of their care, the portal is set to create efficiencies across BCHC by reducing administrative pressures, which will release time for staff to see patients more urgently in need of care.
This will help staff work towards the NHS England target of eliminating one-year elective waits by March 2025.
Dr Jon Higham Chief Clinical Information Officer at BCHC FT said:
“We’re rolling out the Portasana patient portal at a crucial time for the trust.
“Demand for services has never been higher, and like other NHS organisations, tackling the elective backlog to free up capacity for more patients is one of our top priorities.
“Digitising administrative tasks and clinical pathways is going to play a major role in supporting us to do this.
“We know expanding digital capabilities across BCHC will provide much needed flexibility for patients around their care, while freeing up time for clinicians to give back to patients who need it most.”
The national elective waiting list currently sits at 7.1 million, putting extreme pressure on hospital capacity across the health service.
As of September 2022, the trust had 22,000 patients waiting for care on its elective waiting list, with 398 one-year waiters.
Through the digitisation of letters and educational resources, the new platform will also help the trust to save money through reducing paper and postage costs, while reducing waste in line with NHS England Net Zero targets.
Sonia Neary, CEO, and co-founder of Wellola said:
“Following the pandemic, there’s been increased appetite among patients to manage their care and wellbeing at home, allowing them to fit their healthcare needs easily around their schedule whenever they can.
“Wellola can support them to do this, by allowing them to manage their care and view resources in one place.
“NHS hospitals are facing significant pressures, and we will work with BCHC to support patients and, where appropriate, allow them to take control of their care from the comfort of their own home, so time can be released back to trust staff to focus on those who need it most.”
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