Physiotherapists from NHS Suffolk have created an online system to help them assess patients and increase the speed of their treatment. The web based portal, designed with the trustâ€™s IM&T department, allows patients to select a GP practice and enter a password in order to complete anÂ online assessment form. The form provides physiotherapists with details of patients’ symptoms, medical history and medications. The information is used for triage. Physiotherapists can decide whether they need to book an appointment forÂ a patient or whether they would be better served by advice and exercises via email.
The system is designed to reduce the burden imposed by the existing system, which involves physiotherapists telephoning patients to obtain information. It is also hoped that it will reduce the number of sessions offered to people who do not need them. The system has been developed in collaboration with Health Enterprise East, the regional NHS innovation hub, which supports NHS staff in six counties in the East of England. The HEE reviewed the technology and provided feedback from other trusts as well as providing funding for development from its proof of concept fund. Dr Chandu Patil, senior e-health consultant at HEE said: â€œSuffolkPhysio is another excellent example of using IT to revolutionise a process that results in a faster and more efficient service for the patient. â€œIt enables physiotherapists to triage patients in order to prioritise treatment where required and to provide advice and exercises in less urgent cases. Not only can this innovation be rolled out in other NHS trusts but it could also be modified for use by other specialties.â€