COLUMN: Healthcare in a digital age

At Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), we pride ourselves on our digital innovation and work towards making service improvements to benefit patients through the use of technology.
Maz Fosh, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust chief executive.Maz Fosh, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust chief executive.
Maz Fosh, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust chief executive.

As the digital lead for Lincolnshire’s NHS, I strongly believe in embracing developments in technology to increase staff capacity and connect health and care services in the county. That is why LCHS is working on implementing a new referral system with Inhealthcare to enhance our current referral process.

Inhealthcare means all patient referrals into our operations centre from other health providers and patients will all be electronic. This standardises the referral process and ensures consistency and quality of care in Lincolnshire.

We needed to change the way we accepted referrals for services as there was a high volume of telephone calls, which was time consuming for both parties and incomplete information was received through e-mails, thus increasing the time staff spent gaining the necessary information. This new technology will free up the time of call handlers to manage more urgent calls.

Inhealthcare also helps the referrer provide the necessary information first time, as it gives a set format and automates some content; therefore making the process easier for everyone.

The new system is simple to access and navigate around and allows staff to get a better understanding of the demand and capacity on services. The use of live dashboards allows staff to monitor referral pathways as they come into LCHS.

Patients will receive a quicker clinical response as the new system will ensure the correct information is collected at the point of referral and patients can access the system from home to self-refer.

This new venture shows our dedication and innovation to future-proofing the services we provide for our patients and allows us to forward our ambition of digital maturity and create a timely referral process which is high quality, efficient and works across Lincolnshire.

Inhealthcare will help future proof the service for business growth through the use of technology and will help create capacity to support Lincolnshire NHS Health and social care system and patient care for Lincolnshire. We’re excited to see the impact.

Maz Fosh is chief executive of Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust