Olympus and Inhealthcare have launched a digital education service aimed to cut the number of wasted endoscopy appointments. The partnership aims to help NHS trusts to meet Did Not Attend (DNA) targets, reduce cancer wait times, improve efficiency, enhance patient experience and capture patient reported outcome measures (PROMS).
Working in partnership to digitalise the endoscopy patient pathway, Olympus and Inhealthcare will collaborate with NHS trusts to deliver a full process review, from referral through to post procedure, at a time when demand for endoscopy services is ever increasing.
The service, which will be available from early next year, aims to empower patients as they navigate their way through the necessary preparations.
Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, added: “We are proud to be partnering with Olympus to combat cancer in this way.
“The NHS Long Term Plan has set out an ambition to detect bowel cancers earlier and reduce the screening age from 60 to 50. NHSX has committed digital experts to national cancer teams to help clinicians improve patient experience.
“Our partnership with Olympus will help on both fronts, empowering patients and clinicians and creating capacity within hospitals to focus care on those who need it the most.
“This technology will reduce wasted appointments and has the potential to be scaled across the UK.”
Offering more comprehensive and easier access to information than the traditional paper pack, suitable patients will receive communications by email, text or automated call in the days and weeks leading up to the procedure. This includes an electronic appointment letter, instructions on how to get to the clinic, frequently asked questions and a medical questionnaire to determine their eligibility and part pre-assess the patient in advance.
Around five days before the procedure, patients will be sent information about the necessary dietary changes and bowel preparation, with follow-up reminders explaining how and when to act. Any current medications that need to be halted ahead of the procedure will be picked up in the pre-assessment stage and the patient will receive tailored messages to remind them to stop at the correct time.
Hospital staff will receive an alert as to any patients who have failed to open the communications, creating the opportunity to send further reminders or intervene to ensure the patient is on track to complete the required preparation.
According to Endoscopy in 2017, a national survey of practice in the UK, half of the UK’s NHS trusts fail to meet their target of a 5% DNA rate, outside of bowel cancer screening.
Graham Popham, general manager market access at Olympus, said: “With unprecedented demand on our endoscopy services and pressures on the NHS workforce we wanted to look at how we can support the NHS within the limitations of existing services.
“DNA rates are a massive opportunity to support the earlier diagnosis goals laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan and help drive efficiency in a system with limited room for growth, as well as patient engagement through education. We hope our partnership will significantly reduce the numbers of wasted procedures, reduce patient wait times and subsequent timelines to diagnosis.
“By partnering with a digital leader like Inhealthcare we can create a simple easy-to-use platform to support patients across the NHS and beyond.”