Skype e-consultations for School Nurses (part of Leicestershire Partnership Trust’s Agile Programme)
What was the issue or requirement?
NHS Leicestershire Health Informatics was approached to review and select a remote clinician to clinician tele-consultation, patient e-consultation / Telehealth solution as part of Leicestershire Partnership Trust’s (LPT’s) Agile programme: reviewing the trust’s estate whilst providing an increased level of flexibility for community clinicians and the local patient population recognising the growth in those who are part of the digital society.
LHIS project office reviewed the software options that were currently available noting the importance of Governance and encryption requirements. Leicestershire NHS organisations already use Microsoft and as Skype met the aforementioned requirements whilst meeting local Single Sign On requirements, it was a favoured software solution for the trust.
Federated email with Partnership organisations including Leicester City Council for Skype also bolstered the case for Skype. In the first instance and in order to satisfy the service specification for the trust’s 0-19 agenda the Skype project was initiated with a pilot for School Nurses (SNs) identifying some clear and distinct benefits including: Improving access to the service, increased capacity to see patients based on reduced travel time for staff to satellite clinics. Reducing travel time and associated costs, reduction in carbon footprint. In fact, the over-arching Agile benefits realisation work saw a 16% increase in community clinician inventions when compared against pre-agile working, this presented LPT and LHIS with a strong case for change. In addition, supplementary benefits realised included improved staff work-life balance, reduced stress levels, and reduction in face-to-face meetings due to an increased number that could be held remotely via Skype. In order to progress to deployment stage, the Trust needed to identify schools and patient groups (largely parents for this group containing minors) willing to take part in the initial deployment. LHIS also needed to evaluate the best method of training School Nurses in those identified areas. Once a training needs analysis had been completed, an on-site training programme was designed with input from both LPT and LHIS to ensure that it met the needs of the SNs and aligned their individual IT skill bases. LHIS supported the communications and marketing of the product launch, whilst it was in mobilisation phase.
First phase of deployment has been completed and has provided initial evidence to suggest the aforementioned benefits will be realised on a larger scale for the trust in line with other community clinicians under the umbrella of the Agile programme. Patients and clinicians are feeding back their comments into the project to identify further improvements that will
feedback into project board for business as usual consideration. LHIS are providing on-going hardware and software support for SNs via telephone and email and remote management software, which is managed via the LHIS service desk function.
The trust is looking to develop additional resilience in key healthcare and social prescribing areas for 11-19, including raising the profile of healthy eating, exercise and social isolation, where appropriate counselling can be identified. LHIS has also assisted in the development of a Chat Health Application in partnership with Leicestershire SN’s which allows 11-19’s to safely text message SN’s allowing an additional support mechanism for a wide range of health and wellbeing issues. This application has now been adopted in 30 trusts across the UK.
Case Study written with:
Project Lead – Healthy Together Programme