Doctors at Trafford General Hospital have developed and are piloting a web-based system to remotely capture patient reported outcome measures.
All providers of NHS funded care have been required to collect PROMs for a number of common treatments since April 2009.
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Bibhas Roy told eHealth Insider the system developed for the shoulder surgery unit at Trafford General also reduced unnecessary visits to the clinic.
He said patients would typically have to make three trips to the unit before the system was introduced – one for surgery, another two weeks later, and another three months afterwards.
Yet the three month visit was usually just a matter of protocol, to collect patient outcomes.
“I’ve always been interested in IT and it just seemed a waste of time to get a patient to a clinic just to ask them these questions,” he said.
Roy and his colleagues developed the system in collaboration with developer Bluespier International.
A £20,000 grant from TrusTech, the NHS North West Innovations hub, paid for development, the cost of data storage, and an evaluation of the system by the Centre for Health and Social Care Informatics at Liverpool John Moores University.
It has been used by five consultants and about 100 patients since September last year.
Patients are sent an email prior to their surgery that asks them to fill out a questionnaire about their health and expectations.
They are then sent another email following their surgery. Depending on their responses to the second questionnaire, the system can suggest they don’t need to visit the consultant for the third time.
“The system puts the patients in charge," Roy said. "The patients don’t have to come for the visit. If they say they want to come, they can. But they’re equally able to say ‘yep I’m fine, I don’t need to come in’.”
All patients taking part in a pilot were asked to consent to their information being used. The information is held in a data centre and consultants are able to access it online via a username and password log-in.
Roy said patients are not yet able to access a summary of their data, but this may be integrated into the system in the future.
The university evaluation said the system should be developed into a fully functioning online tool that could be accessed by patients over time. It said this would provide rich data on the treatment experience and on how patients use online tools for PROMS.
Roy said the system was still at ‘experimental’ phase. Initial funding will run until September. However, other units could take up the system, as it could be adapted for other disciplines.
© 2011 EHealth Media.
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