Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust has faced an all-too-familiar set of NHS workforce challenges: shrinking staff, difficulties with recruitment as well as patients and clinicians confronted by the logistical realities of a geographically-dispersed region.
Aware of the need for change, T&SD NHS Foundation Trust wanted to develop new models of care that were community-centered and minimized unnecessary hospital visits and admissions. By creating a platform that allowed seamless interactions across geographical constraints, they were able to minimize unnecessary hospital visits and admissions and create better experiences for both clinicians and their patients.
T&SD NHS Foundation Trust believed the most efficient, effective way to redesign their internal ways of working would be to prototype new ones, and then scale them internally. Once the processes were proven, they planned to extend these proven programs to center on the needs of patients.
The team developed an entirely new MDT model, so cross-functional professionals could meet virtually to make decisions, bringing GPs in at necessary moments. This ultimately allowed patients to be treated while at home and well supported, and allowed GPs to spend more of their time treating patients, and less time in meetings. This also eliminated the role of the GP as sole gatekeeper for all decisions, including when a consultant referral was necessary, or an emergency admission should be authorized.
Additionally, connecting all care homes directly to GPs allowed T&SD NHS Foundation Trust GPs to conduct consultations that used to require in-person attendance virtually. Patients no longer needed to be transported to their doctors, eliminating friction around their medical care, which has been especially meaningful for patients in critical care or end-of-life care.
By removing complexity and creating consistent models for working, T&SD NHS Foundation Trust has ensured that the right teams can come together quickly and easily, without requiring time-consuming travel for clinicians or their patients.
- Existing resources and expertise can be best-leveraged
- Local teams can design the solutions that work best for their teams
- Travel is minimized for clinicians and patients
- Savings are realized out-of-hours by creating regional cover rather than silos of local cover
- Morale and satisfaction have improved measurably for patients and staff alike
- Costs are down and operating procedures have been standardized for efficiency
- The system is easy to deploy, and no special equipment is required
- small screen top cameras and headsets