As the NHS faces Winter plus COVID, can technology help in alleviating some of the pressures?
The simple answer is yes. We’ve used a selection of recent patient case studies to highlight how Advice & Guidance is now part of the central NHS landscape and is already playing a significant part in helping to ease pressure.
1. More patients are avoiding a trip to hospital
Remote consultation using patient photos
- “A patient’s skin lesion had become inflamed with brown pigmentation and she was concerned about the possibility that it was cancerous. I asked the patient if she would be happy to send photographs of the skin lesion for me to review”. Read the case study.
Specialist input during GP consultation
- A patient with coeliac disease was suffering from a rash that her GP thought was dermatitis herpetiformis. After using Advice & Guidance to contact a specialist, the GP was able to call the patient back within 5 minutes to confirm the correct diagnosis and the best management plan. Read the case study.
Acute attendances/ admissions avoided
- A patient with a swollen leg had previously presented to the Emergency Department. The symptoms had persisted and the GP used the Consultant Connect App to contact the Acute GP Unit Medical Admissions team. Read the case study.
- “I contacted the Acute Medicine consultant about a 27-year- old patient. I suspected it was either a community acquired pneumonia or influenza and wanted to get an urgent CXR.” Read the case study.
2. More elderly people are being treated in the community or are avoiding an admission
- A late evening admission was avoided as [the GP] could discuss the patient’s current functional status with the consultant planning the follow up (which was very prompt). Read the case study.
- “Having access to a multi-disciplinary team who can best assess the patient’s needs not only helps us keep patients in their own home but also enables health and care partners to perhaps intervene at an early stage and provide proactive care or advice.” Read the case study.
3. More NHS areas will use advice and guidance for other settings/services
GPs helping 111 operators
- “Without Telephone Advice & Guidance, I think the patient would have been taken to A&E with the potential of being exposed to Coronavirus.” Read the case study.
Community services getting rapid specialist input
- Community eye services use Consultant Connect to contact specialist Ophthalmologists: “It’s particularly helpful during COVID where our usual referral pathways have been disrupted.” Read the case study.
Paramedics having access to local Trust specialists
- “The patient was happy that an 80-mile round trip to hospital was avoided.” Read the case study.
- Paramedic, CSD and Operations teams within Ambulance Trusts across the UK are using the A&G service to contact specialists. Read the article with case studies.
Specialist Mental Health Medication advice for UK GPs
- “A GP contacted me about management of a complex psychotropic medication regimen and akathisia in a young man with antisocial personality disorder, anxiety and depression.” Read the case study.
- “The patient was taking sertraline but wanted to switch back to mirtazapine. The reason for this was that it helped the patient to sleep better but the GP was unsure how to handle switching the medication.” Read the case study.