The healthcare sector is fast becoming one of the most digitally developed sectors, with digital technology transforming the way doctors and healthcare practitioners diagnose, treat and care for patients.
Traditionally, healthcare operators such as the NHS have had multiple legacy systems to acquire and analyse data, making simple tasks seem more difficult and lengthy. However, new systems are revolutionising the sector, with Microsoft Dynamics one of those platforms already delivering benefits to both practitioners and patients.
“Microsoft Dynamics 365 has directly changed my role in terms of time saving for me and also means I haven’t got so much to worry about such as clinical governance,” said Lucy Cassidy, Advanced Physiotherapist at Brighton & Sussex University Hospital.
“It’s also easier and quicker to generate reports – so when I’ve been asked to report on how many cases we’ve had, what the percentage of discharges are, I have that all automatically generated within Dynamics. I don’t have to spend half a day crunching data, so the analytics side of things as a manager has been really beneficial.
As with seemingly everything these days, the automation offered by Dynamics is already proving a key tool in healthcare, removing tedious admin tasks from the to-do pile and letting practitioners get on with more important work.
“Automation has reduced the amount of effort and time the clinicians spend doing an admin role, rather than actually physio roles, by redeploying staff to work more efficiently in the hospital by using a skills mix in a better way. Dynamics 365 gives us an end to end solution so we can manage the whole day in one place,” the physiotherapist told CBR.
Lucy Cassidy, Advanced practitioner Physiotherapist at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals
Dynamics 365 also allowed Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals to create a virtual clinic, deployed in January this year, which allows staff to collate data collectively in one place making their job more efficient and accurate.
The results Dynamics 365 has produced haven’t only been beneficial to the trust themselves, but of course the primary focus of the clinic; its patients. Microsoft Dynamics has minimised the number of times patients will have to go to and from hospital to deal with their fractures and rehabilitation, while also outlining whether it is necessary for patients to even come to hospital at all.
“Traditionally if you had a subtle fracture or soft tissue injury after A&E, you’d have to come back to the clinic to see a consultant in hospital. This means all patients would have to come back to hospital in one to 14 days post injury,” Lucy told CBR.
This has all changed with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the virtual clinic, giving patients the ability to only come into hospital if and when it is necessary regarding their individual injury. It also provides them with specific care that can be taken at home. Explaining further, Lucy said:
“The Dynamics portal means instead of having to send patients a template email which has a link to a YouTube video and survey, they get a login detail to a portal where they can access all their rehab info and guidance in one place.
“Before, virtual clinic patients were given very little information with regards to rehab of their injuries. You would come and see a doctor, be given a diagnosis and come back in 6 weeks – but very few patients were referred to a physiotherapist and if they were it’s a long waiting time. Whereas all our patients have a rehab guideline sent to them directly so that they can start exercises straight away without having any delays which prevents secondary complications with patients being managed early on.”
Allowing patients to use an online portal to submit their information and get referred has had a significant impact on the trust financially. By reducing the amount of face to face appointments with doctors and hospitals, the NHS has benefited from a half price service, allowing them to save over £250,000 a year. Through using an online referral system, it has enabled the NHS to discharge 57% of patients to home self-care just by looking at their online details.
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Using a cloud-based solution enables all data and information to be stored and accessed from a singular location which quickens the process for hospital staff when dealing with a patient who has come from A&E. Using the cloud enables all the patient’s history and current issues to be electronically transferred between establishments so a consultant can easily determine the next steps of treatment.
“Patients needing immediate treatment are electronically referred from A&E or minor injuries departments unit by sending details of their injury, telling us what has happened to the patient. Each patient is given a patient ID so if they have any X-Rays they are sent electronically to us and we can review those X-Rays,” Lucy explained.
Apart from the huge benefits Microsoft Dynamics 365 has on staff and patients, it has dramatically helped the NHS remain in line with the hospital green footprint with everything being done electronically – no paper trail and patients don’t have to travel into multiple hospital appointments.
The trust carries out a satisfaction survey at two weeks into patient rehabilitation. Since deploying the service in January, survey findings from the University showed that 75-80% of patients really enjoy the service. Anecdotes from patients revealed that their favourite thing of the service was not needing to take time off from work for appointments and having a physiotherapist on standby for calls.
Currently, the virtual clinic only offers treatment for fracture and acute bone injuries, but Lucy outlined that other clinics and different areas of the trust hospitals will begin to use the virtual clinic for other outlets of care after the positive outcome in this area. If Microsoft Dynamics has had such a major impact on healing broken bones, just think what the deployment of similar technology would do in other areas of healthcare.