As NHS services continue to adapt in response to COVID-19, Solent NHS Trust has become the first in the UK to go live with a system that will facilitate an integrated approach to remote provision of sexual health services.
Solent’s Personal Health Record (PHR), designed by healthcare IT provider Inform Health, will alleviate pressure on clinics and traditional methods of booking appointments via a telephony system. It will also provide holistic visibility over patient data, while empowering patients to self-manage their sexual health by registering on a secure website and creating their own patient record.
The first phase of the implementation will enable patients to book and amend clinic appointments online; improving patient experience and allowing clinic staff to digitally triage patients to streamline service delivery. If patients stray from their treatment pathway, clinic staff will be alerted via simple push notifications that facilitate pro-active intervention – thanks to integration with in-clinic systems. Once all phases of the implementation are complete, Solent will be able to use the system to facilitate patient access to repeat contraception, postal testing kits, results and prescriptions. PHR will also be used to anonymously notify partners who could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.
PHR will further support Solent’s Sexual Health Services through the creation of joined-up, electronic patient records – a key benefit according to Ynez Symonds, Solent’s Sexual Health Services’ Head of Quality and Professions.
Ynez, who has been pivotal in the development of Solent’s PHR, explains: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do so making their lives easier and being able to drill down to see what’s happening with patients in our area, so we can effectively target services, is really important.
“We previously used a system that required patients to input the same demographic information every time they needed to request a testing kit or access condoms online. We know from patient feedback that for some this was a barrier to accessing services. Additionally, our previous system didn’t integrate with our Inform EPR, used in clinics. This meant there was no easy way to see what patients were requesting and when they were returning kits, so it was near enough impossible to obtain a clear picture, assess trends and effectively tailor our future provision.
“Although, like all NHS providers, we’re focused on resetting our services we need to continue to adapt to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission, so PHR remains a top priority for us. I see it marking a real turning point for how patients access services and take greater control of their sexual health and wellbeing. I also think PHR will play an integral role in helping us to better target health promotion through quality data delivered through system integration.”
Susan Bunn, Inform Health’s Commercial Director, believes that PHR has an important role to play in supporting patients and reducing pressure on services.
Susan comments: “Online sexual health self-service software that integrates with in-clinic systems to offer providers and commissioners holistic visibility over patient usage, while encouraging enhanced patient access, convenience and autonomy, supports a number of objectives. It has the potential to significantly reduce operating costs, allow more accurately designed services and targeting of resources, improve health outcomes as well as empowering patients to manage their own health needs and improving patient experience.
“We’re proud to have worked with Solent NHS Trust Sexual Health Services on this trailblazing first stage of their PHR journey that will undoubtedly help to set a new benchmark for embracing innovation to champion improved sexual health and deliver best operational practice.”