Scottish health board uses software to speed up mental health waiting times

A data analysis and electronic appointment booking system is helping a Scottish health board reduce waiting times for young people with mental health problems.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has massively reduced the waiting time for a first appointment from one year to six weeks by using a system from software provider, Emis Health.

The system allows IT experts to check demand and plan for capacity 13 weeks in advance and can spot available appointment slots and quickly fill them.  Clinicians across the health board are now offering 1,000 more appointments a month than in 2014, when it used paper records.

Scott Wilson, senior information analyst, said: “We now have a wealth of information at our fingertips that has enabled us to plan ahead and use our clinicians’ time more effectively. Before EMIS Web, the only way we could gather data was through manual searches, which took hours. We had paper diaries for individual clinicians, with no formal capacity planning.

“Now we can gather data in minutes, and appointment booking is much quicker. If someone phones up to change an appointment it is much easier to do that, and offer their slot to another patient. It means patients are being seen more quickly, and clinicians are offering better care to more young people. Informatics staff who used to spend their time counting are now analysing and supporting planning.” Wilson continued.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is also using the data analysis software to look at did not attend (DNA) patterns for local populations to see how they can work with families to cut missed appointments. Electronic data analysis has also enabled them to produce performance data for service managers within minutes, rather than it taking half a day via manual searches.

Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via:

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