The project went live in January 2011. The contract was initially for 3 years and continues to run to date. Approximate OPD appointments per day: 1,000
In January 2011, Darent Valley Hospital, part of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, deployed the Patient Check-in, Clarity and Call-out modules with the aim of cutting queues at its fracture clinic and outpatient reception and reducing the administrative burden on nurses and receptionists. The Trust manages around 161,000 outpatient appointments per year. Five patient check-in touch screens in total have been installed, alongside patient call-out boards, and the Trust has calculated that the solution paid for itself inside of four months.
Improved patient flow in OPD.
As with most implementations, this project was about far more than simply putting an IT solution in place. Darent Valley has embraced the solution’s potential to enable process transformation and has made a number of positive business changes to drive efficiency gains. For example, the Hospital took the opportunity to re-organise the layout and flow of its Outpatient Department along the lines of an airport, with separate Arrivals and Departures desks. The vast majority of patients check themselves in therefore Arrivals is minimally manned, whilst Departures is dedicated to dealing with follow-up appointments and 18 week targets.
Electronic clinic outcome forms (eCOF)
Building on the success of the Clarity deployment, Darent Valley Hospital saw an opportunity to extend the benefits of the system by replacing its paper-based clinical outcome forms with Savience’s electronic clinic outcome forms (eCOF)
The hospital found that administering conventional paper outcomes is time-consuming and inefficient. Patients, after their consultation, were given their paper outcome forms (sometimes more than one) to hand to receptionists, but quite often the forms would fail to arrive at reception with the result that the Trust was unable to record them and claim funding for treatments. There was also the possibility that patient care might be delayed because follow-on appointments might not be booked.
Even when the paper forms were delivered on time, the process of adding the hardcopy outcome forms to medical notes was quite time-consuming and added to the burgeoning volume of paper work.
The phased migration to eCOF was accepted quickly. Even though it was a significant change in process all members of the clinical and administrative team appreciated the benefits the new approach would bring.
In consultation with the hospital, Savience ensured that the layout and order of the onscreen form reflected the look and feel of using the paper form as closely as possible. Particular attention was paid to minimising the number of mouse-clicks so that form completion would be quick and efficient for the consultants. Special care was also taken to ensure that procedure codes and treatment status codes are very straightforward (short reference numbers and text descriptions) and that consultants only have to select from a short-list of codes that they have identified as being relevant to their work.
The adoption of eCOF has made a dramatic and positive impact within a short space of time. It has resulted in substantial resource savings in administration, improved accuracy and ensures that the hospital can claim its full revenue entitlement. Completion of outcome forms is now 100%. Accuracy has soared because it is the consultants directly involved in the consultations who complete the forms ensuring that none of their information is lost or misinterpreted. Validation checks that were necessary on the paper system have been minimised.
Specific fields on the COFs have been made mandatory, with the resulting benefit that a form cannot be passed on until it is completed, thereby ensuring that the hospital can claim the appropriate payments. Adding new treatment codes and making changes to the forms is simple to undertake and deploy, removing the time delay in reprinting paper forms.
DVH have successfully deployed clinic outcome forms across their outpatient clinics with significant success and a very high level of acceptance from the clinical teams.
Mr Paul WilsonDarent Valley Hospital, Orthotic, Dental & OPD Project Manager
Tel: 01322 428610