Barts trials virtual appointments for heart and cancer patients

London hospital claims use of technology has massively reduced missed appointments

Credit: Tbmurray/CC BY 2.0

St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London is trialling the use of an app allowing doctors to conduct virtual appointments with cancer and heart patients.

Patients can schedule and book appointments using the Ortus-iHealth app, which also provides a reminder of the appointment shortly before the consultation is due to take place. Prior to the appointment, the app also enables patients to provide details of symptoms and information such as including weight and blood pressure. Doctors can also submit a questionnaire for patients to answer and return.

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Appointments themselves can also be conducted via the app’s videoconferencing tools and, shortly after the consultation, patients are sent a written summary. The app collects and tracks information on patient outcomes, which Barts said could allow for better analysis of trends.

The app was built by Barts registrar Dr Debashish Das, who said: “I created the app to modernise the way we communicate with our patients, as well as empower patients to take control of their health and consultations. The portal is very user friendly and simple to use, which we hope will encourage more clinicians and patients to adopt this way of working in the future.”

Ortus-iHealth has thus far been used to arrange and conduct 19 cardiology and 22 cancer appointments – none of which were missed. This compares with the 12% of physical appointments that are, on average, normally missed, according to Barts. The hospital will monitor the app over the coming months to evaluate its long-term impact on patient outcomes.

Sam Trendall

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