Solent NHS Trust in the south of England has become the first in the UK to launch an integrated sexual health self-service system.
The national health service trust has launched a new Personal Health Record (PHR) that will enable patients to book and amend appointments online. This will allow clinicians to triage patients digitally, saving them time. If patients miss appointments then staff are alerted via simple push notifications.
Once it's fully implemented, Solent will be able to use the system for patients to easily access to repeat contraception, postal testing kits, results and prescriptions. PHR will also be used to anonymously notify partners who could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.
The PHR has been designed by healthcare IT provider Inform Health. Solent hopes the system will alleviate pressure on clinics that are currently reliant on traditional methods of booking appointments via the telephone. It will also provide holistic visibility of patient data, and allow patients to self-manage their sexual health by registering on a secure website and creating their own patient record.
PHR will further support Solent’s Sexual Health Services through the creation of joined-up, electronic patient records – a key benefit according to Ynez Symonds, Solent’s Sexual Health Services’ Head of Quality and Professions: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do, so making their lives easier and being able to drill down to see what’s happening with patients in our area, so we can effectively target services, is really important" she said.
"We previously used a system that required patients to input the same demographic information every time they needed to request a testing kit or access condoms online. We know from patient feedback that for some this was a barrier to accessing services.
"Additionally, our previous system didn’t integrate with our Inform EPR (electronic patient record), used in clinics. This meant there was no easy way to see what patients were requesting and when they were returning kits, so it was near enough impossible to obtain a clear picture, assess trends and effectively tailor our future provision."
Symonds adds that the PHR system will also help them to reduce the risks of COVID-19 infection. "Like all NHS providers, we’re focused on resetting our services. We need to continue to adapt to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission, so PHR remains a top priority for us. I see it marking a real turning point for how patients access services and take greater control of their sexual health and wellbeing. I also think PHR will play an integral role in helping us to better target health promotion through quality data delivered through system integration.”
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