Community, Healthcare IT

Time to Care

I got a letter this morning reminding me I had to book a hospital appointment. As far as I know I didn’t receive the original letter which had a password on it.
I phoned the appointments hotline, and they told me I couldn’t book it without a password, so to phone my GP.
So I phoned my GP who gave me my password, then called the appointment line back.
The appointment line then told me that I couldn’t book an appointment because they had run out at the hospital so I would need to keep calling back to check whether they had put more in the system.
*time passes*
The hospital phoned my GP to tell them they could book me an appointment outside of the Choose and Book system, because someone had forgotten to put enough appointments on it.
So my GP phoned me and said they were going to fax (!) the referral to the hospital.
The hospital will subsequently send me a letter with a set appointment on it.
If I can’t make that appointment I will need to go back to the appointments booking line…
20 days after the long winded phone conversation I got a letter from the hospital about my appointment.

The letter has 10 different sheets of paper in it, they are:
A letter from Hospital A confirming date and time of my appointment
A piece of paper that says in large letters: “PLEASE NOTE: the location of your appointment as this may not be at Hospital A”
2 sheets of paper telling me where my appointment actually is: Hospital B
Information on the clinic that I am going to that once again places it at Hospital A
A four page form about my family history which they’ve asked me to fax back to the clinic
A four page form about my personal details which I need to post back to the hospital – even though the appointment was initially a referral from my GP who already have all of this information.

This is a true story, from a major London Hospital, in 2014. This is the problem we’re solving at DrDoctor. We’re building technology to bring simplicity and clarity to visiting hospital. By using clear digital communication we can take the hassle out of managing care. The result is far less stress for patients and more time for hospital teams to focus on patients who need their help.

via Flickr user sardinista.

via Flickr user sardinista.

Most hospital administrators are overworked, stressed, and fighting to get through repetitive, routine work. Using technology to do what it does best – automating the routine tasks – frees up teams to focus on patients who need extra assistance.

With this extra time, an older person who may need transport booking, assistance moving and perhaps an extra reminder on the day of their appointment can now build up a relationship with the booking team. The team have the time and space to make sure all the arrangements are in place, and that the person is comfortable and knows what to expect.

When patients feel they have clarity over their care and know there is someone to connect with if they need it, they are less stressed and more receptive in their consultations. Clinics run smoother, patients take in more and not only do clinical outcomes improve, everyone has a better day too.

This post originally appeared on Relationalwelfare.com. They’re working on a project that creates the chance for people to form better relationships in their local clinics and take control of their own health and wellbeing. It’s called Wellogram, and you can read more about it here.