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King’s College Hospital launches tech ecosystem project to transform outpatient care

Executive director Jonathan Lofthouse reveals plans to create an ecosystem of tech providers to improve care across the trust

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is working on a project to create an ecosystem of tech suppliers which can help build an integrated care system.

Speaking at a digital healthcare event by Intouch with Health, CEO of the trust’s Princess Royal University Hospital and South sites Jonathan Lofthouse revealed the trust is working on the transformation project, “seeking to re-imagine how care can be provided moving forward”.

“Our System Health Improvement Plan contains many aspirations from the NHS Long Term Plan to help bring about health population improvement, and we have already started introducing best-of-breed technology to allow us to achieve our objectives,” he said.

“In essence, over time, we want to create a technological ecosystem that allows us to provide the best possible care, not only at King’s, but across the entirety of the South East of London.”

The executive directors across the trust’s seven sites have set out a 12-point strategy to improve outpatient care, aiming to deliver “rich, dynamic and high-quality outpatient services in a socially distanced format” during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

It is currently doing a phased implementation of a virtual clinics platform from suppliers Intouch with Health and Healthcare Communication, which will be fully integrated across the trust’s sites.

“We need to provide patients with the opportunity for extremely high-quality video consultations, but we also need to make it very easy for a clinician to administer that process,” said Lofthouse.

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The trust is already using it for video consultations with patients, and the next phase is to integrate the virtual clinic platform with the trust’s patient administration system (PAS) to allow clinicians to “manage video and face-to-face patient consultations from one place, regardless of where they are located across the hospital group”.

“Going forward, virtual clinics will help reduce the requirement for patients to attend hospital for their consultation, in turn giving them much greater convenience over their appointments while improving their overall experience and maintaining open lines of communication with their clinician,” said Lofthouse.

“We will also be able to improve the experience for long-term-care patients by pro-actively managing them in their homes and improving levels of communication, while at the same time reducing pressure on clinicians and trust resources.”

The trust also plans to introduce self-service kiosks at the trust, which connects to a centralised reception team via video, as well as a pre-operative assessment solution which will allow clinicians to assess patients pre-operatively, even if they end up not having their operation at King’s.

“They might receive their initial referral or diagnostic elements within the King’s hospital group, but, because of our hub and spoke model of care across South East London, their elective care might be provided by one of the other South East London units,” he said.

“We want the ability to share comprehensive pre-operative information with another provider that allows them to care for that patient in a blended and seamless manner. By the term ‘blended’, I mean the management on the same integrated platform of those patients who present remotely for consultation alongside those who physically present at one of our hospital sites. This is the future of managed healthcare.”

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