22 million reasons to launch London’s new Digital Outpatient Collaboratives

Working across London on digital health projects is always exciting, but today we’re launching a project with particular enthusiasm. DigitalHealth.London’s new Digital Outpatient Collaboratives start today, bringing together Trusts across London to collaborate and share their work to transform outpatient services using digital technology. The projects these 16 NHS organisations are bringing are as varied as they are vital – from virtual consultations in a wide range of specialities, to new work to reduce DNAs or in some cases, going entirely paperless. Whether it’s in cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology or broader outpatient services, they all have one thing in common – the potential to bring about huge change that will benefit patients and clinicians. Funded by NHS Improvement’s Digital Outpatients Programme, this support aims to help Trusts to reduce pressure on outpatient services, improve patient experience and save resource, learning from each other to help increase the pace of change.

And those 22 million reasons? The NHS in London delivered 22,704,139 outpatient appointments in 2016/17 alone. Every one of these represents an opportunity for innovation. For a more efficient experience for patients and staff.

It is a number that is only set to rise. Across England, the number of outpatient appointments has nearly doubled since 2006-07, rising from 63.2 million appointments to 118.6 million in 2016-17. Patients aged 60 to 79 years accounted for a staggering 29.6 million, more than 30%, of all attendances.

The importance of making the best use of this time and resource, through digital health innovation, and improving the patient experience, is unarguable. But we know it’s not easy, particularly when money and time are in scarce supply.

So we applaud the London NHS Trusts joining us today and working with us on digital outpatient projects over coming months. We can’t wait to work with them – through practical tools and insight, supplier intelligence and more. We can’t wait to learn more about their plans and to share more of this, as the project progresses, here.

Tara Donnelly is the Chief Executive of the Health Innovation Network – one of four founding partner organisations of DigitalHealth.London

Want to know more about support for Digital Outpatient projects? There are a range of regional workshops being held by the AHSN Network and NHS Improvement across the country.