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Digital transformation of high volume surgical care pathways wins funding

A regional collaboration which harnesses digital innovations has won national funding to develop new care pathways that are better for patients and save valuable time. This programme will play a key part in helping to get routine NHS services back on track following Covid-related disruption.

According to Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT), most people on waiting lists need relatively straightforward surgery such as cataract removal or joint replacements which are carried out in large numbers. These are described as ‘high volume, low complexity’ (HVLC) services.

The Oxford AHSN will work with partners in the NHS and industry across the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System (ICS) to help bring down waiting times for these elective (non-urgent) operations, as well as improving patient outcomes and access to care.

The collaboration has won more than £400,000 from the £6.5 million NHSX Adoption Fund.

Julie Hart, Director of Strategic and Industry Partnerships at the Oxford AHSN, said: “Digital transformation is driving entirely new care pathways. This collaboration will  support sustainable pathway redesign and elective recovery across the ICS. Based on the evaluation outcomes, implementation will be spread across the ICS providers and our plan is to extend the transformation into other HVLC pathways.”

In total 35 projects are being supported, although only one in four applications was successful. The partners are collectively working on implementing and scaling up the four digital innovations within the cataract and joint replacement care pathways prior to surgery (perioperative). These are outlined below:

  • The Ufonia DORA system delivers automated phone calls and can be implemented at any stage where a follow-up call can free up workforce capacity for other tasks
  • Concentric Health developed a platform enabling clinicians to secure digital consent remotely, increasing efficiency and helping tackle the backlog
  • PRO-MAPP Health’s patient reported outcomes measures will be used for initial triage of patients listed for surgery, providing personalised information about their operation while they are on the waiting list
  • A new digital patient pathway management tool which aims to shift the focus from simply waiting for surgery to actively preparing for it, leading to fewer on-the-day cancellations