Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust uses Patients Know Best for Waiting List Validation
Like most trusts, Mid Yorkshire faced managing a lengthy waiting list without a clear understanding of which patients still required appointments
Waiting list validation is a crucial component of the national elective recovery plan. Patients Know Best's (PKB) Questionnaire function enables trusts to validate a patient's status, prioritise appointments, and filter out individuals who no longer require them. By doing this within PKB's health record platform, trusts can access more detailed data to analyse and optimise their waiting list management as part of an on-going programme, engaging patients in a consistent system that supports broader utilisation.
Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust recently completed a successful phase one trial, implementing tailored questionnaires across 14 clinical specialities. The Trust validated its RTT waiting lists for these specialities in preparation for elective care recovery and to support with the upcoming winter pressure period. Following encouraging results, work on phase two is underway encompassing additional clinical specialities with more streamlined delivery and additional benefits to be delivered.
Like most trusts, Mid Yorkshire faced managing a lengthy waiting list, often without a clear understanding of which patients still required appointments/surgery and the information to help guide on-going capacity management. The dynamic nature of a patient’s situation meant that the waiting list was constantly evolving, requiring an accurate snapshot in time and up-to-date responses from patients.
There is an immediate NHS priority to validate waiting lists before the winter pressure period, but this programme is more than a one-off admin exercise. The Trust wanted to implement a long-term model which would allow them to support, communicate and regularly validate a patient’s status to optimise elective services. Key to this is the ability to capture important data, such as patient availability for last minute appointments or travel to alternative hospitals, within a platform that would allow for meaningful analysis and dynamic patient engagement to optimise slot utilisation.
Mid Yorkshire has been using PKB since 2020 and aims to support and manage patients on the waiting list within their PKB health record. It was important, however, for the Trust to include all patients - both registered and those currently unregistered to PKB- in the Waiting list Validation programme. To achieve this, the Trust implemented a multi-channel communication approach using PKB, SMS or letter asking them to join PKB and complete an online questionnaire.
The questionnaire was tailored according to different patient cohorts to ensure relevance and accuracy for service planning. Patients were notified this was available in their record to complete, via multiple routes, by email for PKB registered patients and SMS or letter, working with our partner Synertec, for those unregistered. The questionnaire was available for a 28-day period with a defined deadline to provide a comprehensive, moment in time snapshot of the waiting list.
Implementation has been phased with an initial trial of 14 specialities. The aim is to now systematically repeat the process, managing the waiting list with up-to-date intelligence. As more patients onboard within PKB they will be given access to additional waiting well resources and Decision Support tools. Along with the data from the questionnaires, this will enable the Trust to support patients while optimising slot utilisation at the hospital or capacity elsewhere within the ICS.
The Trust achieved immediate positive outcomes with patient response rates ranging from 50% to 80%, this enabled:
- 6% of patients requested to be removed from the waiting list, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced backlog.
- Estimated cost savings of £14,000 in clinical expenses for a small cohort by avoiding unnecessary Did Not Attends (DNAs).
- 94% of patients requested to remain on the waiting list, ensuring appropriate prioritisation and care delivery - of the patient responses received, 48% were submitted via PKB, with 47% completed within 2 hours. This rapid response time provided the Trust with a real-time snapshot of the waiting list, essential for effective management in the face of constant changes.
Learnings and Future Developments
The successful implementation of waiting list validation has highlighted its positive impact. Consequently, Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust plans to expand this initiative to additional specialties. To increase efficiency and enhance the patient experience, the Trust intends to integrate automation into ongoing pathway management. This will be achieved through the utilisation of PKB's Advance Questionnaire feature, incorporating scoring systems and branching logic that enables more sophisticated patient assessment. These questionnaire responses will be stored within each patient's personal health record, facilitating continuous updates and comprehensive understanding. The new feature also allows patients to complete the questionnaire without the need to register with PKB, supporting optimum completion rates.
In phase two, patients will be added automatically to teams within PKB, enabling quicker access to relevant resources whilst a patient waits, whilst reducing administrative overhead for the Trust. The Trust is also evaluating improvements to its data feed, including using triggers to automate sending questionnaires and auto extract data for systematic on-going waiting list validation.
This was a first for us, but we wanted to move quickly. PKB was happy to go on a journey with us, starting with a manual process we could control by speciality. With the learnings, we are excited to move forward with the rollout and a more automated approach.