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Digital solution saving time and clearing backlog



A digital solution to remove a cumbersome, time-consuming manual process for validating elective surgery waiting lists is paying dividends at the hospitals where it has been introduced.

By adding an MPage for prioritisation to its Oracle Cerner EPR, clinicians working at two hospitals run by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) now see real-time patient lists – which is speeding up the waiting list validation process, reducing a post-COVID backlog by increasing efficiency andpreventing the creation of unnecessary appointments.

Previously, lists were compiled in spreadsheets and sent in bulk for validation and prioritisation every 3-4 weeks.

This process created common issues for the hospitals’ validation team, including poor/slow response rates and replies sent on Microsoft Word which then had to be copied to the spreadsheet, creating a risk of mistakes and wasting time.

Adding the Prioritisation MPage to the EPR saved 91 hours of clinicians’ time in one calendar month alone, whilst also preventing 5,000 unnecessary appointments.

The new process is the result of a collaboration between CHFT and a project team from The Health Informatics Service (THIS) – which is hosted by the trust – and representatives from St Vincent’s Health and Public Sector Consulting, which markets itself as a specialist in patient-centred healthcare solutions.

Rationale behind streamlined process

The rationale behind the project was an NHS mandate to provide each patient waiting for elective treatment with a P (priority) number between 2 and 4.

This added impetus to an existing desire to create a streamlined prioritisation and validation process using a digital solution that had already been mooted by THIS and CHFT for the trust’s two hospitals, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Huddersfield, and Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, both West Yorkshire.

The project’s aims were to:

  • Provide real-time availability of information via a single source of truth.
  • Reduce administrative time for clinicians and the validation team
  • Provide clearer visibility of patients’ changing circumstances to aid the prioritisation process.
  • Increase efficiency to reduce waiting list backlogs.

The trust’s validation team, which processes an average of 1,800 patients a week, now records straight into the EPR.

Anyone in the process can add comments, and clinicians have the ability to open the page and view it. The responses are live and actioned.

Neil Staniforth, THIS’ Director of Digital Ops and Delivery, says:

“The fact that MPage writes directly into the patient’s notes during validation makes the process a one-stop shop, easy and convenient.

“The result is increased staff satisfaction from a workload perspective among clinicians, and the validation team is pleased with the clarity it provides.

“We think the new process is the best we’ve ever had.

“The ultimate testimony to the success of this project, is that we know if we said we were going to take the new process away, clinicians would fight us, rather than help us pack it up!”

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