Developing digitally-enhanced clinical consultations

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

In our current state as a national healthcare organisation, Connect Health have over 680,000 attended physiotherapy/ tier 2 MSK appointments per year. We have clinicians under pressure with appointment lengths and people with complex medical needs whom the clinician would like to spend more time focusing on. Part of this challenge is that we have a burden of information and data that we need to input during a clinical consultation into our clinical records system (Systm1) and we are wanting to collect more and more patient-specific information.

The opportunity I see for a solution is around developing the ability for our patients to provide much of this information in advance of the consultation and be able to have this information integrated and coded into our clinical system automatically.

Via a link/ app we will provide the patient with an opportunity to explain their problem in their own words and time, ideally using some Natural Language Processing software to check specific answers. The final part of the solution would then be able to integrate the responses directly across to our clinical system, so that when the consultation occurs this is all available to the clinician so they can review it and then use this as a basis for their clinical consultation.

These changes will make consultations more personalised, more efficient, and hopefully improve patients’ experiences of care and clinical outcomes.

I am the Clinical Integration and Transformation Lead at Connect Health. I lead and support integrated change across our clinical and non-clinical systems and have recently been involved in the deployment of a chatbot self-assessment tool across Physiotherapy Services.

I have enjoyed a career as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist and have held a number of clinical leadership and advanced practice roles. I maintain my clinical work as an Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner in the Northumberland MSK service alongside my other portfolio of work.

In 2017 and 2018, I co-authored 2 articles around the effectiveness of community MSK physiotherapy and EQ5D outcome measures as a predictor of physiotherapy management. I was a member of the NICE Guideline Development Committee for hip, knee and shoulder replacement which were published in 2020 and I am the current Honorary Chair of the North East Chartered Society of Physiotherapy regional network.