Digitally Connecting Vulnerable Patients to Care Facilities
Partnering with Microsoft to help dedicated staff save valuable hours to put into care
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is one of the UK’s largest integrated health and social care providers with over 20,000 employees supporting a population of 340,000 service users. It faced the increasing challenge of placing citizens into residential and nursing homes across the Trust in an efficient and patient-centred manner.
It sought to improve access to valuable information for patients and carers, so the latter could make more informed decisions when identifying the facility best-suited for their assessed needs. By meeting these challenges, the Trust aimed to reduce delays in placing service users, while also helping its healthcare professionals to understand, manage, and monitor bed availability much more efficiently.
“Each month 150 citizens need support to get into nursing home or residential care, possibly from their home or from hospital. It’s an incredibly complex, time-consuming and labour-intensive task in which we need to consider the most suitable care for a patient so we require accurate and up to date information about availability in the most suitable facility,” says Jackie Campbell, Service Manager of Belfast Trust.
“It could take up to four hours in an average day, time that would be better spent supporting service users and their families”, added Jackie.
Over a year, that equates to approximately 3,600 hours, time that could be spent working directly with patients, their families and health care staff.
Microsoft had been working with the Trust for several years.
Ultimately giving time back to care is the prize in all this. That time goes into supporting other patients. Belfast Trust customised some of our Office 365 suite of solutions, with a relatively small investment, to allow the sharing of information between those who work in acute care in hospitals and those who run care homes out in the community.
The resulting custom product was named BHSCT Care Home Portal. It also allows families to be more involved in the decision-making process when it comes to choosing the right care facility for their loved one. This can be a difficult and stressful experience for families, but it has been made easier thanks to this technology.
Healthcare systems around the world would benefit from technology such as this. Many countries have similar healthcare systems and face the same challenges, managing finite resources with increasing demand for care. It places a huge emphasis on the need for improved productivity. If you can find an hour or half an hour a day in terms of productivity improvement I think that is something they would all welcome.
Improving technology use across the healthcare industry benefits everybody; the patients, the workers, the facility managers and the public at large who may one day require their services. As technology continues to advance, the digital transformation of healthcare services holds real promise for us all.
Public Sector Lead