How to rapidly improve communication about patients in your NHS area

Published: 6th November 2020

It’s often still very difficult in the NHS to speak directly to the right person when timely advice is really needed – especially if a patient’s needs are complex or urgent. This is why we are working with more and more NHS areas to provide rapid and reliable communication by telephone, photo and messaging. It’s not just primary to secondary care communication that needs to be rapid.

Below are examples of some of the ‘non-typical’ projects we are running in NHS areas. Basically, any team can be connected to another – it’s that flexible!

You can find out more about the examples in the article below or click the titles below to view:

Internal Hospital Communications, between multiple sites, and Junior to Senior Doctor

​Hospitals are increasingly encouraging teams to use Consultant Connect for quicker communication across hospital.

One cardiologist told us; “I had a patient yesterday that needed a referral to derm. I used the App on my mobile to take a photo of the lesion and then shared this with the derm team along with notes in under a minute! I also use the App to phone other teams because my call is usually answered in about 30 seconds!”

We’re often asked to connect teams in multiple sites.

One service manager told us; “Geographical location is no longer a barrier between our complex teams, and I can monitor use of the service via the data reports that Consultant Connect send me. Teams like the fact calls are recorded because we can use these for training.”

In one area junior hospital doctors have made over 7,000 internal calls to consultant colleagues at the same hospital for advice, supporting efficient admission and discharge decisions.

Feedback from one of these clinicians confirms that patient care is being improved; “It’s much better – discharge decisions are being made more quickly and safely.”

Secondary Care to Primary Care and/or Tertiary Care

Consultants are using the Consultant Connect App to bring up a list of local surgeries on their mobile. All bypass numbers are pre-programmed in, so consultants simply tap the surgery they need to speak to.

Feedback from one consultant highlights the impact; “Before this service was available, I would often find myself wasting 5-10 minutes looking up the surgery number and trying to get through their switchboard. This is much better!”

Secondary care consultants are using Consultant Connect to phone or send photo messages to tertiary care services.

One consultant told us; “Being able to get through directly to tertiary services quickly by phone is particularly useful when I am managing the care of very complex or rare conditions.”

Ambulance Care

Hospitals are increasingly encouraging paramedics to use Consultant Connect to pre-alert them of possible admissions or to seek pathway advice.

We are connecting paramedics to a wide range of teams including:

  • Urgent care specialities incl. COVID advice lines
  • Local frailty consultants – resulting in patients being triaged to the community or frailty teams.
  • Multi-disciplinary teams – meaning simple interventions such as providing a lifting aid helps keep patients in their own home where possible
  • To GPs for Advice & Guidance.

One area told us; “83% of calls have resulted in no conveyance being necessary.”

Community Service and Mental Health

Here are just some of the teams that are communicating between each other using Consultant Connect for telephone or photo messaging:

  • Care homes 
  • Respiratory & elderly care community teams
  • Pharmacists
  • Community and District Nurses
  • Local Optoms
  • Stroke Rehab Centres
  • Dementia Care Centres
  • Mental Health Trusts for Adult & CAMHS
  • Integrated Community Care Hubs
  • Mental Health Inpatient Wards
  • Secondary Care specialists
  • GPs/Nurses etc in Primary care

In this short interview Cheryl Smith, Care Home Manager at Chilton Place, talks about her experience of getting Advice & Guidance through Consultant Connect…

These projects have one thing in common – rapid communication tools are resulting in greater efficiency and a much better outcome for everyone involved.

If you’d like to find out how we can support your local requirements, please call us on 01865 261 467 or email hello@consultantconnect.org.uk

Contact us

For more information about how we work with commissioners, hospitals & mental health trusts to improve patient care, please get in touch.

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