Circle Integrated Care (CIC) has been able to offer a further clinic as a direct result of adopting paperless eForm technology to collect Patient Related Outcome Measures (PROMs).
CIC is part of Circle Health Group, one of the largest independent healthcare providers in the UK with 53 independent hospitals, serving over 1.3 million people. CIC’s dermatology service has been able to expand within three months of creating an assessment-focused eForm. Now offering an additional clinic every week, Healthcare Assistants (HCA) are able to save 25 hours weekly and invest this time back into delivering better patient care.
As part of its virtual-first strategy and accelerated by the pandemic, CIC introduced front end technology to digitalise their PROMs. The healthcare provider used FX, an eForm platform provided by NDL Software who specialize in digital transformation technology for social good.
The healthcare provider started with the Dermatology Quality Index (DLQI) form which measures health related quality of life. As part of the new process, patients are sent a link to fill out the DLQI online 24 hours prior to their first appointment. To ascertain the effectiveness of treatment, a second DLQI is sent to capture patient feedback. This process was previously completed on the phone by a Healthcare Assistant 6 weeks after the appointment. By digitising the process, this allows appointment time to be focused on diagnosis and treatment.
By opting for a digital process, the PROM is completed independently avoiding any potential opportunities for bias. Since launching in February, the pre-appointment assessments have already seen an impressive completion rate of over 60% – a number that the team hope to continue to improve on with further communications.
In adopting eForms, CIC now also has access to crucial data points which allows the team to analyse the effectiveness of different treatments and interventions, advancing patient care. The data can also easily be shared with the Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure standards are upheld for the NHS contract.
Patients are able to initiate follow up appointments using the eForm, giving them more flexibility whilst minimising unnecessary clinic visits during the global pandemic. Also, not to be ignored are the environmental benefits in eliminating the need for 180 paper forms per week.
Previously patients were asked to fill out a paper form, often assisted by consultants or specialists during an appointment. An administrator would then manually rekey the details of the form into the system, which could lead to data quality issues. This process was previously time-consuming and frustrating for patients and clinicians.
CIC and NDL were already working collaboratively on deploying Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and recognised that eForms could compliment the technology, providing an end-to-end transformation. Following a 2-day NDL Academy training course, the team then set to work creating the solution. It took the team just one day to build the eForm and three weeks to deploy it.
Zara Thomas, Business Systems Analyst at Circle Health Group, says:
“Our eForms development was really straightforward, and NDL provided great support to help us drive the project. We aim to showcase our eForms within the wider Circle Healthcare Group – as it is such a simple, easy and cost-effective way to collect data.
“Adopting the digitalisation tools has sparked new thinking toward the endless opportunities to scale the toolkit. Now PROMs are considered a valuable tool and less of a tick-box exercise. These are helping us to save time across our clinical and administration teams, and provide us with more data points, allowing us to analyse the effectiveness of our treatments and interventions and thus provide better care to our patients.”
Tom Wright, Head of Digital Engagement at NDL says:
“This eForms project demonstrates how the power of low code technology can be quickly and easily developed to benefit both patients and Healthcare Assistants. Replacing the time-consuming paper process with a digital alternative means that more patients are better able to receive the care they need. It’s a great example of how transformational technology can have a positive impact on patient experience.”
With the success of the initial project in dermatology, plans are already in place to create further eForms corporately across services. CIC’s current areas of development and future projects in the pipeline include patient choice, experience and consent forms. Ultimately, a digital approach advocates better patient care, experience and has released capacity within the CIC’s clinical teams.
NDL works with a community of NHS Trusts and healthcare providers that share best practice and innovation, to overcome similar challenges faced across the UK. For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.ndl.co.uk. To read the full case study, simply visit: https://www.ndl.co.uk/success-stories/circle-integrated-care/