Covid-19

Is your health system dealing with patient backlogs?

 

Does it need to ensure the new “business as usual” is embedded in practice?

As we emerge from the global pandemic and move to COVID reset, clinicians working in your health system need clear, real-time guidance on changes to priorities and local service provision.

Referrers need to know about:

  • availability of services
  • updated access criteria
  • changes in clinical practice for a variety of different health conditions.

Specialist services need to know about:

  • the clinical guidance currently being used in primary care
  • options to change access criteria.

At the same time, access to the community and 3rd sector services needs to be optimised. As patients are stratified into different cohorts according to their clinical priority, HealthPathways can help clinicians support and manage each of these patient cohorts.

Current backlog of patients on a secondary care waiting list

Supporting primary care in dealing with patients who are waiting longer than in normal circumstances

As hospitals reprioritise patients on their waiting lists, there are many people who will end up waiting far longer than they or anyone else expected at the point of referral. The challenge is how can clinicians support their patients during this extended period. The answer is not just ‘referring patients back to primary care’, but by using HealthPathways as a way of ensuring GPs can point to specific services and interventions available locally to help in the interim.

Whether this is structured exercise programmes in MSK, low vision services for cataract patients, or local support groups for specific conditions, Community HealthPathways provides an up to date and readily available guide to how patients can be supported on a particular pathway. While this is useful for any patient, it is particularly important for those in this group.

"The scale and pace of service change during the COVID-19 pandemic was at a level I have never seen before. I don’t think we could have got through it as well as we did without HealthPathways. Having an authoritative, trusted resource that was already well-used by primary care, with a process behind it to agree, re-write, and publish pathways, sometimes within just a few hours, gave a speed and consistency of response that I don’tthink could have been bettered." 

DR MATTHEW WALMSLEY GP Chair, South Tyneside CCG

Patients who would have been referred to specialists but no longer meet thresholds

Agreeing and communicating clear new referral thresholds

As we come to terms with the reality of reduced clinical capacity and extended waiting times, it is inevitable that patients who would have previously met the criteria for referral and treatment in secondary care will now not do so for some time to come, if ever. For this cohort, it is vital that referral criteria, based on nationally designed principles, are agreed by local clinicians and shared widely.

HealthPathways enables these criteria to be developed and agreed between secondary and primary care clinicians and made available to every GP for use in consultations. It is also possible to adjust these criteria as capacity and demand change. HealthPathways also ensures that these patients are supported by local services, unless and until they reach referral thresholds.

Patients who are more at risk of further deterioration in their conditions

Improving health and decreasing health inequalities

Patients with Long term conditions, particularly those in vulnerable groups, have suffered significant deterioration during the COVID pandemic. Unless we improve the care and support offered to these individuals, they will suffer further deterioration and inevitably end up requiring more specialist intervention. 

By providing a suite of internationally-curated, evidence-informed pathways for primary care clinicians, HealthPathways provides guidance on assessment, management, and referral for over 600 clinical conditions. Additionally, it also allows GPs to target interventions at vulnerable groups, thus attempting to decrease health inequalities. For example, the use of local pulmonary rehabilitation programmes can be identified as a specific priority to improve outcomes in COPD and help prevent further specialist referrals.

Want to know more?

Contact our team to discuss how HealthPathways could help your health system recover from the impact of COVID-19

 

Contact us