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Hampshire Hospitals introduces a digital hub for patients

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) has taken another leap forward in using technology to improve the delivery of healthcare services, after launching a secure, online digital portal for patients to manage their hospital appointments.

Using the Netcall Patient Hub, patients can confirm their appointment, view their appointment letter and additional information, request to rebook or cancel their appointment and download the appointment to their device calendar.

This is one of many steps forward the trust has taken to continue to advance its digital care programme, aimed at providing the most efficient services for patients and staff, to ultimately be able to provide the best possible care.

In the new age of virtual appointments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Patient Hub also has a feature for video appointments that takes the patient directly to the virtual waiting room.

Switching patients to this digital communication is more convenient, empowers patients to take an active role in the next step in their care and aims to reduce the number of appointments that are wasted or lost due to patients failing to attend.

In 2019, HHFT undertook a patient survey which identified that 70% of respondents would prefer to receive appointment notifications by email or SMS.

Dr Tamara Everington, haematology consultant and associate medical director for improvement at HHFT said: “We are hugely excited by this leap forward and we strongly believe that this will help our patients to be better supported in their care. We have listened to patient feedback and are focused on making sure patients who come into our hospitals have the best possible experience, from the time they get their first appointment notification to when they have had the care and treatment they need.

“As well as ensuring patient information remains secure, we know that this will be more cost effective for the NHS and help reduce our carbon footprint.”

Ophthalmology was the first service to go live as a pilot in late 2020, with paediatrics and dermatology services following shortly after. Other services will continue to be brought online over the coming months.

Going forward, other information including clinic letters, discharge summaries and other care plans will be available on the secure Patient Hub.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive at Hampshire Hospitals added: “This is just one of the ways we are working towards our vision to provide outstanding care for every patient. We are already seeing the positive impact of this work for our patients, and the time staff previously spent on sending out appointment letters is being used to better support patients and make the most of every available appointment.

“I want to thank all the teams involved in making this a success so far, and I am looking forward to continuing to improve patient care through our digital care journey.”

Patient Hub works by sending a text asking patients to click on a link to read an appointment letter, which allows patients the option to further manage their appointments online. Patients who don’t follow the link will be sent electronic reminders but will ultimately default to paper communications.

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