Olympus teams up with NHS for cancer diagnostics

By Leila Hawkins
The partnership aims to reduce waiting times for cancer-related appointments...

Optical products manufacturer Olympus and digital health firm Inhealthcare have partnered with the UK's National Health Service (NHS) to create a solution that will shorten waiting times for endoscopies. 

The Digital Education Solution aims to improve health outcomes, reduce missed appointments and ease the strain on overstretched hospitals by digitising the patient journey from referral through to post procedure patient feedback.

Data from the National Endoscopy Database shows activity fell by 95 per cent during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis. To help NHS trusts catch up, Olympus and Inhealthcare have launched the Digital Education Solution. 

The new platform offers personalised support and educational materials for patients, removing admin work for staff at a time when clinics are operating with limited capacity due to the pandemic. 

It's hoped it will reduce paperwork by replacing this with digital communications. This will include instructions on how to prepare for endoscopic procedures. 

In 2017 a national survey of endoscopy practice found that 7 per cent of NHS acute services had "Did Not Attend" rates higher than 10 per cent, which adds a significant cost to the health service. Reduced capacity due to Covid-19 means that missed appointments have become even more costly.

Studies have also estimated that delays to cancer diagnoses and treatment due to the pandemic could lead to an increase in deaths of up to 17% in England

The South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the north of England is adopting the Digital Education Solution at The James Cook University Hospital’s endoscopy unit. Dr John Greenaway, Consultant Gastroenterologist, said: “The service empowers patients with improved communications and helps them overcome any fears they might have ahead of their procedures. It creates capacity within the system by streamlining administrative processes and reducing the bureaucratic burden. We are using the latest innovations in healthcare to deliver specialist endoscopy services as part of our COVID-19 response.”

Graham Popham, Head of Market Access at Olympus, added: “Given the current situation with the pandemic making appointments even more valuable, we feel there has never been a more appropriate time to support patients coming into endoscopy services. We at Olympus anticipate the Digital Education Solution to benefit patients by providing personalised digital support every step of the way on the lead up their appointment to ensure everything runs smoothly for both the patient and the endoscopy team.”

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