Bluespier is helping to reduce hospital visits and waiting times for fracture patients with a new ‘virtual’ fracture clinic.
The new scheme launched at Poole Hospital last month and is the first of its kind in Dorset. Providing an alternative to conventional fracture clinics, it aims to improve patient experience and reduce waiting times by ensuring only those who need an appointment are given one in a timely manner.
Previously, all patients seen at the Trust’s Emergency Departments (ED) with a suspected fracture would have been referred to the hospital fracture clinic.
But often a face-to-face appointment is not needed as injuries heal without intervention.
Now, patients in ED have their injury immobilised in a splint or boot and those who require orthopaedic review are booked onto a Virtual Fracture Clinic rather than automatically attending a traditional one.
X-rays and patient notes are easily reviewed ‘virtually’ by an orthopaedic consultant and specialist physiotherapists who decide the best course of ongoing treatment, which could be a specialist fracture clinic appointment with a surgeon , referral to physiotherapy, discharge to GP or even arrange an urgent admission in serious cases.
During the first month of the new arrangements the hospital has reduced new outpatients appointments for fracture patients by 40 per cent.
“We designed this service around our patients to ensure they were only attending hospital when absolutely necessary and when they do come they are seeing the right person the first time. We hope this new service will help us assess patients much sooner than was previously possible, as well as reduce the number of missed fracture appointments. “ – Miss Nikki Kelsall, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon.
As well as improving patient satisfaction and care quality, the Trust are also hoping the clinic style will contribute to its paperless strategy, as discharged patients are followed up with advice and rehabilitation guidance by phone and email rather than paper letters where appropriate.
“Virtual clinics are a shining example of how simple use of technology can make real-life changes to patient care almost immediately. “We are delighted with the success of this project at Poole and grateful for the clinical and IT teams for driving it with such vision and diligence.” – Stuart van Rooyen, Managing Director of Bluespier.
“The project has led to a more simplified process for both our patients and staff and will provide significant benefits for our patients for years to come.” – Mark Mould, Deputy Chief Executive.