Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU)

How it works

Our Patient Initiated Follow Up Service (PIFU) service enables patients to initiate an IG-secure virtual consultation with a specialist clinician. All data and call recordings are available via Consultant Connect in your browser.

The service reduces unnecessary visits to hospital, patient waiting times and releases the clinical teams to see patients in a more timely manner. There is no doubt that this is the simplest, most effective way of delivering follow-up consultations where the clinician does not need to see the patient. There are two pathway options available via Consultant Connect:

- Consultant Connect
- Consultant Connect

Key benefits

For clinicians:

  • Flexible, agile IG-secure solution which can be tailored to suit specialty team needs and requirements
  • Can be used alongside our Patient Connect service, enabling clinicians to deliver IG-secure virtual consultations
  • All calls are recorded and tracked
  • Clinicians can access call recordings and PID
  • Commissioners and administrators can access reports, including the outcome of calls, with all PID stripped out

For patients:

  • Instant reassurance, avoidance of stress or worry
  • Avoidance of costs (childcare, missing work) and disruption through unnecessary hospital visits and long waits
  • Rapid access to specialist care at a time of need
  • Right care, faster

In Practice

NHS Trust teams tell us about introducing PIFU pathways via Consultant Connect…

When did you put Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) in place at your Trust/Hospital and for which specialty?

“We set up PIFU many years ago via Nurse Advice Line for Rheumatology.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

How did you manage your helplines before introducing PIFU via Consultant Connect? What led you to consider Consultant Connect?

“Before moving the service to Consultant Connect, patients would have to call in and leave a voice message explaining their problem. The admin team would then have some time to listen to all the messages, call the patients back and action the queries.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

What structures /processes/staffing did you need to set up to support the PIFU service?

We already had two telephone nurse clinics running each afternoon to call patients with clinical, medication or flare related queries, and protected flare slots in the Doctor’s clinics for patients to be booked into. Three admin colleagues had time each morning to triage the queries coming in and book them in for nurse call back if necessary.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

Who did you involve in discussions, and did they have any concerns that you had to overcome?

“We involved the lead nurse and the nursing admin support team. There were concerns that it would be more demanding to deal with the call queries live rather than via voice message.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

How did you manage to get buy-in from the specialty team?

“The new process seemed better and more efficient for time management and once we tried it, everybody could see it was better.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

What has the impact been since moving access to the service to Consultant Connect?

It’s been a massive improvement as now not only do calls get answered live, but we also have a method to collect and collate data removing the need to manually count each call and the outcomes of the call etc.

The patients do like being able to speak to somebody when they call.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

How has the service impacted staff wellbeing and patient care?

“It has been very beneficial for staff experience as the team members know that once the phone lines shut in the morning, they can move on to other tasks as opposed to potentially be listening to many messages for indefinite periods of time. It is nicer for patients to speak to somebody and get an answer to their query rather than having to leave a message and have uncertainty as to whether they message and query will be actioned.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

What recommendations would give to other NHS areas currently evaluating moving their PIFU service to Consultant Connect?

“It is a great service to use and there is a lot of support from the Consultant Connect team! They support us with data collation etc and are always willing to work with you to make your ideas happen and fine tune the service to meet your needs.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

How are you performing against the NHS operational target of moving or discharging 5% of outpatient attendances to PIFU pathways by March 2023?

“We are working towards it, although we have only recently formally implemented PIFU pathways so not that many patients have been identified as appropriate thus far. The patients who have been doing a PIFU model via our nurse advice line historically (and currently) were/are not PIFU identified patients necessarily although it is still a form of patient initiated follow up.” Maxima Spanakis, Admin Team Lead Bedfordshire NHS Trust

5 minutes with… a Care Home Manager - Consultant Connect

In Practice

Area Case Study | Keeping elderly patients out of hospital

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s (SWFT) Frailty Service have been leading an array of activities to aid patient referrals. In this article we uncover the key activities across the trust which ultimately work towards keeping patients out of hospital, especially as we head towards winter.

In Practice

Area Case Study | Using PIFU for LTC patients in Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes CCG

MS and Epilepsy Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) services are reducing unnecessary visits to hospital and improving patient waiting times at Bedfordshire Hospitals.

‘As an operational lead I am able to identify number of calls coming in, the outcomes that come in, which is excellent in terms of at the end of the day auditing and finding out what were the results of those calls, and I think I couldn’t get anything better.’ Hüseyin Hüseyin, Neurology Operational Lead

5 minutes with… a Consultant answering local and out-of-area Advice & Guidance queries - Consultant Connect
Putting PIFU into practice - Consultant Connect

In Practice

Webinar recording available

Expert speakers share how they have put Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) into practice at their Trusts during this pre-recorded webinar.

Get our guide

It’s as straightforward as you would expect from Consultant Connect with two pathway options. This short guide will help you understand PIFU options via Consultant Connect. Click the button below to request a copy.

We’re here to help

If you would like us to show you this service, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at, or call us on 01865 261 467.