Our attention, as is everyone’s, is focused on how to tackle the ever increasing backlog. Find out from Gary Mordue, our Product Manager, how Silverlink are innovating to support trusts to tackle these waiting lists and improve access to care.
As it stands, there are more than 5.7 million patients awaiting appointments, the largest backlog for elective care since records began. As the need for digitally enabled ways of working becomes ever more pressing, Silverlink is working with partners and internally to help NHS trusts construct more sophisticated and strategic methods of dealing with the backlog.
Firstly, Silverlink is working with NHS Digital to help respond to the pressures being placed on emergency departments due to the pandemic. There is an expectation across the NHS to be pushing a “111 first” initiative to reduce the number of people attending A&E, so we are responding to make it easier to facilitate. By creating a 111 bookings interface within the Silverlink PAS, 111 operatives will be able to query available timeslots at local hospitals, and provide patients who need emergency care with a specific timeslot to attend. Overall, this will help hospitals to manage the flow of patients, reduce crowding and provide better visibility for colleagues in the emergency department.
Further to this, outside of emergency care, Silverlink is supporting the NHS to tackle the elective recovery backlog through procedure and diagnostic tracking (P&D) codes. It’s no secret that the number of people waiting for treatment has soared during the pandemic, so these codes will enable trusts to effectively stratify waiting lists and prioritise patients based on their clinical need. These codes will make it possible to assess every single person on the waiting list, classify them and ultimately deliver needs-based care, thus reducing the backlog.
Lastly, with the elective recovery program due to be released later this month and expected to draw attention to digitally-enabled patient initiated follow ups (PIFU), Silverlink is making strides to build a more sophisticated PIFU infrastructure to help reduce backlog figures. By providing management screenings and reports, trusts will have greater visibility of patients on a PIFU pathway, as well as those who may be eligible to be placed on one. As it stands, PIFU pathways tell trusts very little about those patients, making it difficult to stratify and ultimately tackle waiting lists. By providing these screenings and reports, all patients can be accounted for. Then, when they contact the hospital to request an appointment, bookings teams can effectively triage them to the service they need.
All three of these responses aim to tackle the core problem of access to care. If access to emergency care can be improved, patients can then be triaged more quickly and access services they need, and then also be on the trust’s radar if their condition happened to deteriorate in the future. The outcomes of these projects are expected to become available to Silverlink customers in early 2022.
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