Redesigning Your Therapy Service

A discharge team working out of two West Midlands’ hospitals has been recognised with a national award for creating an integrated discharge process which includes a focus on early identification of appropriate therapy. The idea behind the scheme is simple but it has already reduced patient hospital stays by over 13% and saved the Trust around £2.5m.

Simply by giving therapists ‘trusted assessor’ status, patient assessments can start earlier, even before the patient has left hospital. Not only does this lead to the provision of a care plan which starts even before the patient has left the hospital, it also this means that seamless ongoing care can be provided.  With therapy plans already in place, patients can be discharged into home care far earlier than before. This in turn means that treatment is more focused, not only meeting the immediate needs of the patient but also their long term rehabilitation needs.

Prior to the inception of the integrated discharge process, patients would have to stay longer in hospital to ensure that they had recovered sufficiently well to enable them to be discharged into a home or other environment. Moreover, once they had been discharged they would have a period without treatment arguably at a time when treatment is most effective; having to wait for community assessment at home and potentially facing a relapse of their condition in the meantime. So not only do the new procedures save bed space they also help to speed up rehabilitation.

The idea of creating seamless and integrated processes is not just one which is confined to hospital discharge. When reports reveal that generally the health system is under some strain, anything which can speed up patient treatment and therefore recovery times is welcome. Health practitioners across the board are therefore looking for ways to cut down on administration and maximise treatment time.

Quite frankly, anything which can reduce the time spent on routine administration, and therefore non-treatment, time is to be welcomed. That is why practices such as SMS text messaging to remind patients of appointments, online booking and digitising patient records are becoming more widespread as health practitioners look to automate the non-treatment elements of their daily round.

For health practitioners who need to charge for their services secure card processing helps not only to smooth out cashflow but also saves time in sending invoices and chasing unpaid accounts.  And using the services of a virtual health receptionist means that patient treatments can run without interruption from multiple phone calls, leaving the health practitioner to provide therapy whilst others take the administration strain.

Thinking outside the box, thinking smart; whatever you call it the result is the same.  As health practitioners find new ways to leverage the advantages to be gained from technology and look anew at routine processes, they can make a measurable difference to ongoing patient treatments. As Physio Karen Lewis, one of the award winning West Midlands team said, receiving national recognition “really shows the value of physiotherapists leading innovative service redesign for the benefit of patients.”