Mid and South Essex ICS create a single waiting list across the whole Integrated Care System to speed up elective recovery and help drive down the backlogs.

The project will give a single view for all clinicians and operational managers across the ICS of exactly who is waiting for acute care, how long, for which specialty and what their clinical priority is – so the most urgent and those waiting longest can be treated first.

This project is also providing the opportunity to look at and standardise processes across the ICS, so Mid and South Essex (MSE) can give the best possible care to all patients and streamline the use of its complex resources – such as the 50 theatres across its three hospitals.

Unifying data across three sites

Covering 1.2 million people and 17 organisations Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System (MSE) is working in partnership with Insource, to combine and standardise data from its three independent PAS systems at the three acute hospital sites: one instance of Lorenzo and two separate instances of Medway. To this was added data feeds from the three theatre systems.

The Insource data management platform has now consolidated and quality-checked this diverse data to deliver a single system-wide Patient Tracking List (PTL). This single, fully linked PTL provides true end-to-end RTT (Referral to Treatment) waiting lists across three acute sites and is aggregated to ICS level. The unified PTL covers all specialties, all the way from referral, through outpatients and diagnostics, to treatment and discharge. It will automatically be refreshed daily and becomes the single source of information across the ICS for elective patient pathway planning.

Although an automated ICS-wide, near-real-time PTL is new to the NHS, Insource see this as all in a day’s work and have been unifying complex operational data for over a decade in the acute, mental health and community sectors and at national level.

Prioritising patients against clinical need

Barry Frostick, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board, stated, “At Mid and South Essex we were particularly hard hit by a couple of Covid waves resulting in significant elective care backlogs, with some specialties waiting much longer than we would want.

“We see our strategic partnership with Insource on the elective recovery programme as a real opportunity to prioritise patients according to clinical need and length of wait, to standardise clinical processes across our multiple sites and to maximise our system-wide waiting list capacity. Having a single, robust, fully validated PTL for all clinicians to refer to is a massive first step.”

First task – driving down elective waits

Whilst the solution is collecting data on the full patient journey, both RTT and non RTT pathways, plus theatre and emergency data, the first task is to reduce the backlogs. So, getting a clear view of the RTT elective pathways, and prioritising patients against clinical need and long waiters, is taking precedence.

The full project aims to reduce waiting list backlogs and long waits, ensure fair patient scheduling and activity booking, and maximise cross-site bed and theatre capacity based on the resources available – to meet the extraordinary demand the system is facing.

Insource elective recovery suite

The MSE elective care programme is underpinned by the Insource elective recovery suite. It includes system-wide waiting list management and statutory reporting, agile capacity and bed occupancy planning, clinic scheduling and patient journey analytics to streamline care pathways and improve processes throughout the ICS.

The Insource unified data foundation gives an up to date understanding of all patients and where they are in their care journey. MSE are now in the enviable position of having all the data in one place – a single source of the truth – and will shortly be able to prioritise clinical urgencies and long waits first.

And the Unified Data Layer or UDL provides the fully validated platform for all trust and partner applications to sit on such as BI, analytics, board reporting, and theatre scheduling.

MSE – a flagship site

If the NHS want to keep up with the times and tackle the massive backlogs, increasing output by streamlining workload and improving staff morale by expediting patient pathways and reducing duplication is going to be essential, and there’s only one way they’re going to do it.

Up-to-date centralised data that is accessible from anywhere – and once Mid and South Essex have gotten to grips with the backlog, the bedrock of data they have at their disposal will act as a launchpad for a flurry of other achievements, which is something Sam Elliott, Insource’s CEO alluded to: “Mid and South Essex are a very important flagship site, not only for Insource but nationally, and the work they’re doing is ground-breaking in many respects.

“Building a single, fully validated, automated PTL across an ICS may be our bread and butter, but it is also providing the data foundation for a wide range of planning, performance, clinical and process improvement initiatives that could revolutionise care delivery going forward. We are immensely proud to be helping MSE chart the future and deliver true joined-up care and efficient use of resources system-wide to bring down the backlogs.”

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