We are now facing the consequences of the NHS redistribution of staff and resources in the spring: from late-diagnosis complications to extremely long waiting lists. If we want to help hospitals cope, we need to use their time and capacity in the most targeted way possible, and this is exactly what Cinapsis is built to do.
Speaking on our virtual discussion panel at the Healthcare Partnership Network Expo in November, Prof. Matthew Cooke (Chief Clinical Officer for Capgemini and former National Clinical Director for Emergency Care in NHS England) commented that:
The success of the NHS will be judged not only on how well we managed COVID, but how well we managed the ‘everyday’ emergencies and urgent electives.
This observation hits the nail on the head. As we find ourselves deep within the second COVID-19 wave, NHS services are once again coming under immense pressure. However, this time around, clinical leaders are extremely conscious of the need to maintain normal service operation alongside the treatment of COVID patients. This is where clinical communication tools like Cinapsis SmartReferrals play an important role in breaking apart silos that have formed and become embedded in healthcare organisations. By enabling clinical dialogue and digital conversation, we are helping Secondary Care to manage the patients in greatest need - regardless of whether they are treated for COVID or not.
Senior NHS leaders now recognise that integrating the best new technologies across all levels of the NHS will have a significant impact on tackling service overwhelm. But how do we bring the urgently needed tech tools into the right hands without delay? By integrating them into pre-existing systems.
In the first wave of COVID, we helped Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to successfully integrate new pathways on their Cinapsis SmartReferrals account to facilitate triage in the face of rapidly changing guidelines: a ‘COVID hotline’ for SWAST paramedics and a new pathway for their new GP Assessment Unit. By adding these new pathways as an integrated feature to their usual triage technology, we gave over 500 paramedics access to respiratory and urgent care specialists and the ability to obtain advice when needed: this resulted in 40% of patients avoiding hospital admission.
Listen to Dr Malcolm Gerald, Clinical Lead for Digital Urgent Care at One Gloucestershire ICS and, Dr Chris Custard, SDEC Lead and Consultant in Acute Medicine at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHSFT and Prof Matthew Cooke, former National Clinical Director for Emergency Care in the NHS England discuss how Cinapsis SmartReferrals is helping to keep patients out of hospital during COVID and beyond by optimising clinician-to-clinician communication across an Integrated Care System.
By opening up access to specialist advice and guidance, we can empower primary care clinicians to make shared decisions with specialists about their patients’ management - finally moving away from the broken referrals system which relies solely upon the remembered knowledge and experience of GPs.
We know that advice and guidance really works in cutting down waiting lists and unnecessary ED attendance, thus allowing a redistribution of time and resources to the patients who need it most. By enabling Trusts to customise the ‘best’ triage routes into the Cinapsis SmartReferrals platform, we enable our NHS partners to build a process in which the right thing is the easiest thing for clinicians in primary care to do.
We don’t need to start from scratch if we are to get a handle on the escalating waiting list crisis. Rather, we need to turn to new technologies which tap in to the knowledge and experience held by clinicians. We need to adapt our systems so they can hardwire this knowledge and redistribute it equitably. We need to break down the barriers obstructing communication, and we need to leverage newly-opened channels to get patients to the right places and seen by the right clinical team. This is how we will revolutionise outcomes for patients and protect the future of the NHS.