Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) successfully completed a six-month pilot with us at Accurx. The pilot’s aims were threefold:
- Improve patient experience
- Introduce more efficient processes
- Achieve better communication between primary and secondary care
Our team initially began supporting Doncaster Primary Care Services during 2020 to communicate with both patients (via SMS and video) and with staff across the healthcare system. This resulted in a 98% adoption rate across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS. Given the impact of Accurx in primary care in recent years, RDaSH decided to run a six-month pilot across eight of their community service teams – including podiatry, epilepsy and diabetes.
Why was the pilot needed?
The pilot was needed across the eight community services at RDaSH for a variety of reasons. These included the inefficient and outdated nature of current systems, the heavy reliance on face-to-face patient care, and time-consuming phone calls to contact primary care with key patient information.
The service teams piloted our software to:
- Message patients via SMS and email, sending them documents, letters, links, surveys while also receiving text/photo responses
- Hold video consultations for both 1:1 consultations and remote group clinics
- Send messages to GPs, with the ability to attach any necessary documents
Those involved in the pilot received training as well as check-ins with our team to ensure they were getting the best out of our software and to troubleshoot any challenges or queries. Metrics dashboards were also shared at fortnightly review meetings to show staff usage, and staff received ad-hoc support throughout the pilot, with full access to our seven-day a week world-class support team.
'Your support team are amazing - nothing is too much trouble, and they always solve any problem quickly.' Senior Administrator, Lancashire And South Cumbria ICB
What were the results?
After the pilot, RDaSH undertook an evaluation to measure benefits for patients, staff and the Trust as a whole. This showed some key findings:
- The pilot made a noticeable improvement to patient experience:
- Staff at RDaSH noted that video consultations allowed them to better build rapport with patients compared to over the phone.
- Digital messaging, reminders and video provided patients with a simpler, flexible process compared to paper letters, face-to-face appointments and phone calls.
- Digital care plans were received three to five days quicker than they had been with paper letters.
- The pilot helped improve staff confidence, reduce unnecessary appointments and save valuable time:
- Appointment reminders were sent in 20 minutes per clinic, down from 2 hours.
- Automated integration with SystmOne removed the need for copying and pasting messages into EPR, saving one minute per message to primary care.
- Staff felt more confident with digital appointment confirmation compared to paper letters.
- Receiving patients’ wound photos reduced unnecessary appointments.
- The pilot can help services save money in the future::
- The pilot highlighted that sending digital letters in Accurx can save the eight services at least £50,000 a year by removing paper appointment reminders, letters and leaflets.
What do RDaSH staff say?
“Some people we used to ring monthly just to get weight readings. Now we can text them to get these and it saves us so much time and it’s better for the patients because they don’t always want to talk.” Angie Wheeler, Manager in the RDaSH Telephone Nursing Service
"Because there is very little delay in getting feedback from patients to change the appointment, our appointments slots are more up to date and other patients can take advantage of free slots. - ”Administrator, Podiatry
"Message GP is a consistent way to get in touch with any GP. I can see it in the sent inbox so have confidence that it’s been sent, and there’s an audit trail in the patient record.”- Nurse, Diabetes
A final word from our Head of Clinical, Dr Satya Raghuvanshi…
“We believe that giving everyone involved in a patient’s care the ability to communicate with each other and the patient leads to better care, and this pilot with RDaSH so clearly demonstrates that. It’s often perceived that to achieve widespread change across an organisation, complex systems or processes need to be put in place. But actually, we see time and time again that simple tech, like SMS or email messaging, can lead to vast improvements.
“Over the past few years, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Doncaster Primary Care Services and RDaSH NHS Foundation Trust. It’s been great to see the benefits Accurx has brought to patient experience, improved efficiencies, time saved for staff, and cost savings too. We’re looking forward to the next steps with this organisation.”