According to Digital Health, NHS England has received a lot of criticism recently from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on misdirected clinical correspondence and have spent nearly £2.5 million trying to resolve this enormous backlog. A report published by the PAC (2018) revealed that NHS England was too slow to treat this issue seriously and act upon it. Therefore, the problem aggravated and remedial treatments were delayed (www.digitalhealth.net, 2018).
NHS England has been asked by PAC to provide an update on this in November 2018 and again in May 2019. Items to be addressed include:
- The number of items of misdirected correspondence identified to date – as there has been some confusion on the exact amount
- Size of the current backlog of unprocessed correspondence
- How communication between GP practices has been improved.
Streamlining clinical correspondence is tricky business and not something that can be achieved overnight. What does it mean for you and your hospital? How can you get on top of your correspondence? Broadly speaking, clinical correspondence is “A general UK term for any patient-specific information received from or sent by a doctor or health organisation, which relates to an individual patient’s clinical care (e.g. a GP referral letter)” – Segen’s Medical Dictionary (2012). Clinical correspondence is often mentioned alongside things like discharge notifications and Transfer of Care (ToC). All of these terms relate to dispatching patient information and reports from one organisation to another in a safe, effective and timely manner.
So how can we ensure safe Transfer of Care and help to downsize clinical backlogs?
- Reduce the number of instances of misdirected correspondence
With the address functionality in our workflow solution, clinicians are provided with the ability to easily distribute letters to multiple selected addressees. Managing your clinical correspondence from one location saves a lot of time and decreases the risk of sending the correspondence to the wrong contact by mistake.
2. Reduce the number of unprocessed documents
Our workflow solution has been proven to significantly reduce the turnaround times of medical reports and helps to tackle enormous backlogs. A prime example is Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. They had a 52 week backlog in Pain Management and their turnaround of documents was reduced to just 24 hours with the aid of our speech recognition technology.
3. Improving communication between GP practices and other healthcare providers
With the help of direct, electronic transmissions professionals can send and receive discharge summaries and outpatient letters across multiple organisations. This improves communication, efficiency, security, clinical workflow and ultimately results in a more effective transfer of care. We have established a common method of information sharing with our partner Docman – to transfer documents to GPs securely and seamlessly.
With these technology advancements we can help you to support the delivery of high quality care by improving the consistency and availability of information across health and social care. Ultimately, ensuring the best possible experience for the patient.
Digital Health (June 2018) NHS England heavily criticised for misdirected clinical correspondence. Retrieved June 13 2018 from www.digitalhealth.net/2018/06/nhs-england-pac-clinical-correspondence
Committee of Public Accounts. (June 2018). Clinical correspondence handling in the NHS (Forty-third Report of Session 2017-19). Consulted at https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmpubacc/929/929.pdf
Clinical correspondence. (n.d.) Segen’s Medical Dictionary. (2011). Retrieved June 13 2018 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/clinical+correspondence