King’s College Hospital to advance its 'digital by default' patient engagement strategy
King’s College Hospital NHS FT (KCHT) is working with patient communications provider, Healthcare Communications to implement new technology that will allow the trust to advance its patient engagement strategy whilst supporting its recovery from the pandemic.
As part of the agreement, the trust will implement Healthcare Communications’ patient portal and eClinic video consultation platform, alongside eight additional solutions from the company’s patient engagement platform.
The contract was agreed in August and will run until 2025.
WHY IT MATTERS
The new technology aims to reduce any backlogs caused by the coronavirus pandemic and support KCHT's recovery before the next wave.
The patient portal is designed to inform patients about the status of their appointments by sending updates and digital letters to their smartphones, relieving staff of these administrative pressures.
The portal will also enable Patient Initiated Follow-Ups (PIFU) and help the trust to reduce inbound phone traffic, by allowing patients to confirm, cancel or rebook appointments digitally.
eClinic will help to reduce the number of patients visiting KCHT hospitals for non-emergency appointments and will be used to provide urgent care for patients who cannot attend in person.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
NHS hospitals have been using AI to rank patients in order of urgency to clear the COVID-19 backlog as the number waiting for treatment could reach 10 million by Christmas.
ON THE RECORD
Jonathan Lofthouse, site chief executive for the Princess Royal University Hospital said: “At King’s, it has always been our agenda to move to a ‘digital by default position’, which is why we were keen to put digital technology at the forefront of our recovery and reset programmes.
“We firmly believe our richly diverse patient population deserves the very best in healthcare, and to deliver this we often need to reimagine what’s gone before. Using new communication platforms will aid patient self-management, improve the speed, quality and accessibility of information, increase the quality of our clinical services, and help us to deliver against the future expectation of our patients and clinicians.”
Charlotte English, senior improvement lead, King’s College Hospital, said: “We’re dealing with a significant amount of Referral to Treatment (RTT) requests, which has been exacerbated by COVID, so it’s really exciting to be exploring ways in which patients can take more ownership over their care, such as PIFU.
"We hadn’t really explored this before, and we expect it to reduce our follow-up waiting lists. We’re hoping it will also result in a drop in hospital admissions, which would be fantastic, especially as we enter our winter pressures and with the second wave of COVID looking imminent.”