"A suitable measure" for all outpatient care is "unsuitable for the purpose"

A new digitally expert and person-centered system is needed

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 09 November 2018

The "one size fits all" approach to outpatient care is no longer suitable for the purpose.

This is the message from the Royal College of Physicians. In a new relationship Outpatients: the future – adding value through sustainability, published today, NHS England's health director, Professor Stephen Powis, says it's time to "catch the nettle" to reduce some of the 118 million outpatient appointments every year, many of which are not needed.

The report claims that the cost to patients and the public health of the current approach must be considered together with the financial cost for the National Health Service. Not only are patients frustrated by poor communication and long waiting times, but they have to spend time and money on things like childcare and travel when attending appointments.

The CPR in its report states that the "one size fits all" model should be replaced by a person-centered approach that recognizes that people have health needs, personal pressures and different self-care or management skills. It asks patients to be at the center of a redesign process that makes better use of the technology already available, and says that patient-centered care means that there should be a clear benefit to health when people are asked to attend appointments. , taking time off from work and school.

In the preface, Professor Powis, who supports PCR recommendations, says it may sometimes seem to patients that the outpatient visit was designed in the doctor's interest rather than in his own, while doctors are often just as frustrated with trials antiquated in their own clinics.

"The outpatient system is older than the NHS and it is now time to grasp nettle and use technology and other innovations to improve patient care and experience as part of the long-term plan for national health service, it is right to look at ways to cut unnecessary appointments, save thousands of trips, reduce traffic and pollution and make the national health service more efficient. "

The co-author Dr Toby Hillman, clinical manager for the RCP sustainability program and a consultant surgeon said: "Having re-evaluated the purpose of outpatient care and aligned its goals with modern life and expectations, we must ensure that the benefits are measured in terms of long-term value for patients, the population and the environment, not just for short-term financial savings ".

Inviting the NHS to take advantage of the power of technology and innovation, Professor Powis said, "For many people, assistance can be delivered more promptly and conveniently close to home, from GP surgery specialists or using technology in new and exciting ways.This report shows a snapshot of exciting new models that already work successfully through apps, skype, text messaging and remote monitoring systems that are changing the form of assistance; need to bottle and spread those examples building a new consensus for the future based on the opinions of doctors and patients ".

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