Digitising Dietetics at Leeds Community Healthcare Trust

Background

COVID-19 has seen a much-needed drive-in technology supporting front line staff to efficiently and effectively get the right care to the right patients at the right time, whilst still supporting those with a less urgent need. 

The increased usage of online Consultations to triage patients and make the most effective use of time for both the patient and the health care professional has been huge in the Coronavirus pandemic and hopefully it will make the difference that the use of technology made for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust Dietetics Service.  (LCH)


Driving efficiency through symptom monitoring

Ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust had decided things needed to change to stop waiting lists growing longer, to enable their local community to get the service they required, involve patients in their own care and prioritise those patients in greatest need. Human resources were already stretched and the Digital Team at the Trust decided to give technology a chance. 

The Trust collaborated with a local technology company, Aire Logic, to deliver an electronic tool that would help patients monitor their symptoms regularly and accurately, check whether they were following the diet they had been advised to and determine whether the patient was improving, stabilising or deteriorating. 

Working together with the Trust and Aire Logic took the Functional Gut Disorder form and developed a simpler, easier to use digital version of it, using Aire Logic’s forms4health. The digital version used smart techniques like image selection and skip logic to direct patients to only relevant questions, making it much more engaging for a patient to use. 

The Results:

The Trust was amazed by the results of the eForm. Within 6 months the efficiencies were already evident

  • Reducing clinical and patient time, Approximately a third of clinical appointment time has been saved using the eForm equating to 12 minutes per appointment. 
  • More responsive process, the collection of information allowed Trust teams to contact patients much earlier than normal, so the patient knows their care is progressing.
  • Greater patient engagement, the form is easy to use and patients can access it on any device, at any time, allowing people to be more proactive in their care. Putting patients in control of their symptom monitoring also supports improved self-care. 70% of patients now use this route to monitoring their symptoms
  • Improved therapy outcome measures, patients using the eForm had equal or improved outcome measures compared to those not using the form. 
  • Patient-centred Care, the eForms, submitted in advance of a patient appointment, support more patient-centred consultations. The clinician knows the patient’s specific concerns before the consultation starts, and can spend more time addressing them.
  • Patients managing their care - LCH has observed a positive correlation between patients who complete their eFGD forms, and those who attend appointments and complete treatments. Clinicians feel this is due to the ownership the patient has over managing their health and symptoms.
Referral Times Halved with the introduction of forms4health

“I know I’m more prepared for a patient when they walk through the door, and am making better use of my time in the appointment because I don’t have to spend so much of it on symptom reporting. I can get to the stuff that really matters – giving advice that will help my patient.”

Dave Magson

Clinical Lead for Community Dietetics,
Leeds Community Healthcare

The Benefits

  • Using forms4health is saving time for both staff and patients. Approximately a third of clinical appointment time has been saved using the eForm.
  • Forms4health allows more responsive processes; the Trust teams are contacting patients and gathering information much earlier than normal, so the patient knows their care is progressing.
  • Providing patients with eForms encourages greater patient engagement. The form is easy to use and patients can access it on any device, at any time, allowing people to be more proactive in their care. Putting patients in control of their symptom monitoring also supports improved self-care, in line with the NHS Five Year Forward View.
  • The eForms, submitted in advance of a patient contact, support more patient-centred consultations. The clinician knows the patient’s specific concerns before the consultation starts, and can spend more time addressing them.
  • LCH has observed a positive correlation between patients who complete their eFGD forms, and those who attend appointments and complete treatments. Clinicians feel this is due to the ownership the patient has over managing their health and symptoms. Where an eFGD is not completed, clinicians have the opportunity to discuss the importance of self-management, and explore patient motivation, to increase likelihood of patients achieving symptom relief.

"The introduction of forms4health to drive innovation in patient engagement has exceeded our expectations on a number of levels, including patient engagement and making better use of valuable clinical time. We look forward to expanding our work with Aire Logic to deliver further benefits in the near future"

Mark Simpson

Project Support Officer. Leeds Community Healthcare Trust

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