Enter the Elective Recovery Plan. Produced by NHS England, its proposed targets include reducing waiting times to under a year, and providing 95% of patients with diagnostic tests within six weeks, by March 2025. To achieve this, it suggests four key areas of delivery on which services must focus:
- Increasing health service capacity
- Prioritising diagnosis and treatment
- Transforming the way we provide elective care
- Providing better information and support to patients
Embracing the best new technologies and innovation will be critical to reaching these targets and preparing the NHS to meet future challenges. Transforming the way we deliver elective care means embracing improvements to the systems that support clinicians with this delivery, but doing so in a safe, regulated, proven and data-driven way. Below, we’ve outlined how Cinapsis SmartReferrals can help you do just this, and support your team to work in line with the Elective Recovery Plan.
1. Increasing health service capacity
To increase health service capacity, we need to identify and dismantle the obstacles that are getting in the way of efficient care delivery.
One major blocker is the use of outdated, analogue referral systems that are non-interoperable and demand significant manual input from clinicians. Swapping out old systems for digital referral management solutions, such as Cinapsis SmartReferrals, makes it possible for all patient information and data to be seamlessly shared between clinicians for the purpose of care pathway planning.
As a direct result, clinician time is freed up to spend with patients - increasing care and treatment capacity. In addition, enabling shared clinical decision making is essential for turning unplanned A&E visits into collaboratively planned and managed care.
2. Prioritising diagnosis and treatment
While reducing waiting times may seem like a mammoth task, there are simple ways we can help to prioritise diagnosis and treatment which can have a significant impact. We can help primary care clinicians to determine which cases need urgent referral, and which don’t, by connecting them with direct advice and guidance from senior consultants. Using Cinapsis SmartReferrals, clinicians can call or message their secondary care colleagues in real-time to gain advice on cases, and can also securely capture and attach images from their own devices.
This means patients can be directed to the correct service first-time, and unnecessary referrals reduced, helping those who really need it to access treatment more quickly. In Cheshire and Merseyside, our teledermatology referrals platform has already helped cut unnecessary referrals on the two-week wait cancer pathway from 30% to 0%. 49% of all the cases submitted via the platform have been successfully managed with advice and guidance alone.
3. Transforming the way we provide elective care
Transforming the way we’re providing elective care begins and ends with empowering clinicians. Primary care clinicians, paramedics, 111 call handlers and other NHS staff working in community settings can be supported through digital advice and guidance to make more informed decisions and manage a wider range of conditions in an outpatient setting. This will simultaneously reduce pressure on secondary care services, with fewer cases entering emergency departments unnecessarily.
Opening these channels of communication will help create a better flow of knowledge and experience between clinicians, ultimately helping them to collaborate and support one another more effectively. Using digital systems like Cinapsis SmartReferrals also means that any shared decision making carries equally shared risk. All decisions, interactions and actions taken are recorded and visible on the system. So no individual clinician is left solely responsible for the decisions made. Instead, this responsibility is shared, reducing risk for each individual clinician involved.
4. Providing better information and support to patients
The benefits of digitisation don’t stop with clinicians; there are huge advantages for patients, too. With clinicians able to obtain second opinions through an advice and guidance platform, patients can be triaged to the most appropriate service, or reassured sooner if the problem with which they’re presenting is not a cause for concern.
The risk of patient information getting lost in the system is also significantly reduced. Information is automatically recorded and all actions and decisions made visible. This means clinicians are never playing catch-up, tests don’t have to be repeated, and treatment can be allocated much more quickly. This referral data can also be used to monitor success in reducing waiting times and indicate where improvements can be made. Our partnership with optometrists in Cambridgeshire has helped them gain data insights that help ICS and service providers monitor for trends and plan care and spending accordingly.
By working in line with the Elective Recovery Plan, we can make real, proactive changes which reduce the pressure clinicians are under and effectively tackle the care backlog. Cinapsis can support your team to address each of the four key aims at once, by helping you successfully implement transformative referral technology. Not only will this help reduce workload and pressure, it will also significantly increase capacity and insight.