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Improving telecommunication channels for rheumatology patients

Posted by Kyle Beacham (Admin) 3 months ago Posted in Rheumatology

How did you change?

The Guy’s & St Thomas’ Rheumatology Service implemented three changes to improve telecommunication channels for rheumatology patients during the first wave of the pandemic.

  • Telephone advice appointment service - During Covid-19 ensuring the accessibility of our service was critical for patients to feel cared for at home. The response was to increase the number of available online telephone advice appointments by recruiting professors, consultants and registrars to engage in online telephone appointments, a role usually held by nurses.
  •  Webpage content redesign - Clinicians were supported by the Digital Lead to provide content for a new Coronavirus and Medication Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on the rheumatology service webpage which patients co-designed and reviewed.  The FAQs were based upon audit findings from the nurse-led telephone helpline, emails and telephone advice services with ‘live updates’ from the rheumatology MDT daily Covid-19  ‘huddle’ meetings.
  •  Rheumatology Access Telephone-Tree Service - Clinicians, administrators, service managers and the trust digital/website team were involved in supporting the rapid redesign of the telephone tree based upon an audit of the nature of calls received and who typically dealt with these #firsttime.

Who was involved?

The rheumatology multidisciplinary team, administrators, service managers, patients and the trust digital/comms team.

What challenges did you face?

Due to the first wave of the pandemic, there was a rapid reduction in rheumatology outpatient services with a majority of routine outpatient consultations rapidly switching to telephone appointments. Nursing staff who typically manage the telephone advice appointment service and nurse-led helpline were redeployed,  rapidly reducing the capacity to offer un-planned non-F2F consultations.

What successes occurred

There was a rapid ‘coming together’ of members of the multidisciplinary team to support the three telecommunication initiatives. As a result, there was a greater understanding and appreciation of each others roles. Also, a relationship was swiftly made with the digital team which allowed for rapid iteration of content as the national guidance on shielding was updating at pace.

Click on this link or the attachment below to read the full Change Challenge Innovation

This post was edited on Feb 24, 2021 by Kyle Beacham

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