Rolling out a digital consent pilot for patients undergoing surgery

Phoebe Allen, Quality and Improvement manager for planned care, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Digital Pioneer Fellow.

Overview of project:

  • The project is a digital consent pilot, using Concentric, where consultants have access to a virtual library of consent forms that is linked to a patient record system
  • Consultants can complete e-consent forms prior to surgery and share this with patients for signing either virtually or in-person
  • The pilot initially started in General Surgery and Colorectal Surgery in Chelsea and Westminster hospital, and since has been rolled out to nine specialities; 3,800 consent forms have been used on the platform

This is a brilliant way because it was sent to my email address, so after the operation, the next day, I was able to read through it again and with the explanations of the different things I learnt a lot which helped me tremendously during the weeks after the operation. Would strongly recommend that this system is kept, I found it so helpful after the operation.

– Patient

Concentric has been a great addition to our practice. It has really improved our work from several perspectives. It does improve the flow on the day surgery, getting people consented promptly in the day of surgery or confirming the consent if they have already been consented. It has avoided the issue of consents getting lost. It is very user friendly where the consents can be emailed to patients, a feature patients find very helpful, and for which I have got very positive feedback from few patients.

– Consultant General Surgeon, Chelsea and Westminster Foundation Trust

Impact of project:

  • Positive patient and clinician feedback received from the pilot  
  • Reduction in time spent on file storage, creation and retrieval
  • Improve patient care by reducing the level of risk and unnecessary hospital visits
  • Improving the efficiency of the surgical patient pathway and to increase the level of information provided to patients to allow for fully informed decision making
  • Improve end to end visibility for staff, allowing for smoother process for preparing a patient for surgery


  • Estimated number of patients to have benefited: 7000
  • Estimated number of NHS/social care staff to have benefited: 250

This is so fantastic, I wish I had more patients to consent on it.

– Consultant Oncologist, Chelsea and Westminster Foundation Trust

Brilliant way of getting consent from patients for an operation procedure. Brilliant it can be emailed so that patient can go through it at a later stage after the operation. Superb that information is given in easy to read and understand under different categories and headlines. This means that when a patient is in pain, for example, after a few weeks, they can refer back to this system to find it’s normal, possible, or needs action like seeing a doctor or contacting the consultant or hospital.

– Patient

Key learnings from the project delivery to date:

  • It is pivotal to engage with not just the direct users, but also staff that are indirectly associated with the workflow. It is important to ensure that information and recommendations are obtained from them, and they are also offered training – as their knowledge is invaluable
  • Be aware and plan for hidden costs in implementation of new systems from a IT infrastructure perspective. Even when a product is “out of the box” there are always costs associated, even if those costs are time
Phoebe Allen Digital Pioneer Fellow
The networking opportunities provided by the Digital Pioneer Fellowship programme have been an incredibly useful tool to help challenge my current thinking and to also meet like-minded individuals. Additionally, the teaching sessions enabled me to build on a number of skills that I have been able to apply to my project – I am looking forward to seeing how my project evolves over time.