A new portal has been launched for patients treated under the Respiratory Support and Sleep Centre (RSSC) at Royal Papworth Hospital, designed to improve patient care and reduce the number of unnecessary clinic appointments.
Patient Aide can be accessed on smartphones and tablets, as well as laptops and computers, and will allow vital information such as upcoming appointments, diagnoses, clinic letters, discharge summaries and tests to be uploaded.
Within the RSSC, Patient Aide will serve as a platform for undertaking virtual outpatient clinics in patients suffering with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) syndrome who are successfully established on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment.
“This is something we had already started working on but has been accelerated over recent months owing to the increased need for more remote healthcare provision,” explained Dr Martina Mason, Consultant Sleep Physician in RSSC.
“We treat about 1,500 patients each year for OSA alone, with around 13,000 people in total who require our care for OSA alongside other conditions. We therefore have a large cohort of patients requiring regular input from the RSSC team.
“Patients will be identified to use the portal and sent a questionnaire, assessing their compliance to CPAP treatment. These submitted questionnaires will be reviewed by the clinical team and if it is felt that those patients would benefit from a face-to-face or telephone consultation, this will be arranged.
Patient Aide will help patients to see completed and new questionnaires sent to them, letters, results and other important documentation.
“However, the majority of patients who are stable on CPAP treatment will simply be reviewed again on a yearly basis, using the Patient Aide platform. This will therefore provide a solution for many patients with OSA by bringing the care to the patient.
“There are numerous benefits to treating patients in this way, such as: reducing the number of unnecessary follow-up appointments and ‘did not attends’ saving the hospital time and money; fewer journeys to and from hospital to reduce patient expenditure on travel costs while also helping to reduce the NHS’ carbon footprint; and importantly keeping patients and staff safe.
“It will also improve the RSSC’s teams efficiency by allowing staff to concentrate on diagnosis and early treatment of new patients identified as having OSA – it is these patients who typically need more investment of time compared with those established on the treatment.
“In addition, the Patient Aide portal will enable ongoing specialist input from our sleep centre to our patients with stable OSA during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, without the need for them to come into hospital.
“We want to thank our digital team for their hard work in helping to roll out this project.”
One of the features of Patient Aide is a health tracker, allowing patients to input and store key health indicators.
The system has been through the necessary information governance checks to ensure patient information remains secure and private.
Patient Aide was developed by DXC Technology as part of the Innovation Fund, an initiative established and funded by NHS Digital. It is due to be rolled out across other departments within Royal Papworth Hospital in the future.