Improving clinical pathways for Dermatology patients
When University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust purchased Patients Know Best (PKB), a digital personal health record, they had a clear goal of bringing change and measured benefits to their current clinical pathways for their patients, staff and the Trust as a whole.
The goals included benefits such as better patient engagement and access to information materials including letters, care plans, library of resources and personal clinical data such as test results, tracking symptoms and measurements.
As well as digitising at least 10% of all correspondence, they also identified the more ambitious and overarching objectives across the trust to decrease unnecessary follow up appointments, enabling them to cope with the increased number of patients without increasing capacity.
One of the first teams to start using PKB with their patients was Dermatology. They wanted to use PKB to facilitate remote communication and monitoring with their patients. They could see the benefit in not having to bring patients into hospital unnecessarily for follow-up appointments when it could be done digitally.
Putting processes into practice
During the COVID-19 Pandemic the Dermatology team took on the initiative to utilise the functionality of PKB to reduce the disruption to patient services. In particular, this team was interested in being able to contact and deal with patient queries via secure messaging, in place of face to face appointments or telephone clinics/calls.
In some cases the team were able to electronically send blood forms to their patients, rather than individually sending them via the post.
In addition, the team wanted the ability to send patients both the Psoriasis Epidemiology Screening Tool (PEST) and the Dermatology Quality of Life Index (DQLI) questionnaires digitally, to save time and money. They also took advantage of the care plan feature in PKB to compliment the UAS7 score chart.
The team worked hard to quickly get everything set up as soon as they’d had their first demonstration of the system. They were provided training, support and guidance from the trust and PKB as they settled into using PKB with their patients.
Joanne McWilliam, Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist Biologic’s was the lead clinician instrumental in moving this forward at pace and engaging with their patients to register for their PKB record. As a result of these changes to the way the team interacted with their patients they started to see some real benefits.
Meeting the objectives
Currently 259 of their patients have registered for their PKB record (68% of those invited) and the majority of them were engaging with the team using the secure messaging feature rather than trying to contact over the phone. Interacting and communicating in this way also reduced the number of unnecessary follow-up appointments.
It’s making life a lot easier using the messaging functionality in PKB rather than phone calls as it speeds everything up. It has definitely reduced the number of phone calls that we receive and we can respond to an email quicker than a phone call message. We are using the library feature in PKB for self help groups and patient information which is great as we can make sure the right information is accessible to the patient at any time and they have it to hand conveniently all in one place said Joanne McWilliam.
These benefits were recognised by both the team and their patients, with one patient noting “It was very easy to register for my PKB personal health record. The main features I use are the appointments letters section and the messaging services, it’s ideal for me as I have lots of different appointments and the paper letters always go missing in my house, this way I always have a digital copy of every letter Patient Records produces for me!
It’s convenient, quick and has been an absolute godsend this past 12 months when appointments have been cancelled, changed or altered in some way, I get to know immediately and I don’t have to rely on letters arriving. I use PKB mostly as a physical reminder for appointments, direct personal messages to my biologics team and occasionally in-platform form completion (which also works great and saves the Dermatology staff a whole bunch of time and extra paperwork!). It’s super convenient, at any time of the day I can look up when I have to attend again, or when I’ve been, read messages, fill out routine questionnaires and it’s all on one platform instead of having to log into multiple websites and using multiple logins.”
Getting more out of the PKB functionality
Joanne finished off by saying that moving forward the team were going to be looking at how they could use the functionality in PKB even more and were particularly keen to add more questionnaires to use with their patients.
She said: “As a team we are seeing the benefits of how it saves time for both the staff and their patients, the blood forms which used to get lost are now sent via PKB and it has now become part of our daily consultations and they refer to it all the time. I now tell patients to message me via PKB instead of phoning.”
Other Dermatology case studies/use cases
Patients Know Best (PKB) has also been working with Swansea Bay University Health Board Dermatology team. Read how by implementing a Patient Initiated Follow Up strategy using PKB as an enabling tool, they managed to achieve a 75% reduction in face-to-face outpatient appointments and eliminate their list of ‘Follow-up not booked’ patients here.
Wanting to find out more?
If you’re a patient of UHDBs and want to know how to register for your record, or a professional/ organisation wanting to know more about PKB….