Experiment date: February to April 2021
In collaboration with: Wharfedale Hospital
What is the problem?
When patients or service users arrive at care settings, there is often a need to collect their demographic information to create or locate their digital records. Currently, this is mostly done by talking and typing.
Why is this an issue?
- When patients arrive at a care setting it can take time to create a record or find their details.
- Patients have to give personally identifiable information.
- This process is often time-consuming, causing queues to build up.
- Some patients find verbal communication more difficult, for example if English is not their first language or because of a medical condition or disability.
- Miskeying contact details can lead to confidential patient information being sent to the wrong person.
- This can also lead to the patient not receiving important follow-up information or test results, creating anxiety for patients, and extra work for staff in tracking them down and delays to follow-up treatments.
- Updated patient details often do not flow to other settings, even between two departments in the same hospital.
What would be the benefit of addressing this?
- Our initial calculations showed that if we could halve the time taken to create a record in A&E, outpatients and new GP registrations (and avoid wasted time 'hunting' for patient data) we’d save time to the value of £95 million per year.
- It would greatly improve patient experience.
- It would reduce wastage (for example letters sent to wrong place).
- It would ensure we have the most current, accurate demographic information at the point of access to services.
We wanted to test automatic transfer of demographic information and NHS number from a patient’s mobile device to a clinician’s computer, to:
- save time
- preserve patient privacy
- reduce the potential for introducing errors into the patient record
What did we do?
- User research with clinicians, admin staff and an inclusive range of patients.
- We created a new service in a test version of the NHS App that generates a 2D barcode containing the data the patient chooses to share.
- We created a simulated Patient Administration System to receive data via a scanner when a patient arrives.
- We tested on-site in a hospital outpatient department.
What were the outcomes?
- Reduction in average check-in time from 1 minute 46 seconds to 35 seconds during testing.
- Data which showed that the most time-consuming check-ins involved missing or incorrect contact details.
- User research insights from staff and patients.
- Recommendation report identifying route to roll out.
- Open sourced code of our proof of concept.
If you would like to know more about this project, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org