Improved patient self referral journey via NHS Choices

In a blog back in June we shared that we are supporting the team in a project to improve online access to therapy services via the NHS Choices website.

The aim of the project is to make the process of self referring to IAPT via NHS Choices as simple and intuitive as possible. The project so far has involved user groups, user surveys, co-production workshops and a series of prototypes in order for the NHS Choices team to best assess how to improve the patient referral journey.

The next phase of work has focused on making improvements to the IAPT service search on NHS Choices with a new service finder due to launch in the next few weeks. The current search on NHS Choices requires users to enter their postcodes and provides results by distance to the service address, resulting in a long list of IAPT services and leading to ‘out of area’ and other inappropriate self referrals. The new IAPT service finder will require users to enter their GP and as a result will direct people to eligible IAPT services.

The new finder will also include a couple of ‘scene setting’ pages, which will explain to users that they need to be registered with a GP to access IAPT. It will also signpost to the Samaritans for those in need of crisis support. These pages will also give readers a basic overview of IAPT, types of therapies offered and what they can expect from the assessment process.

Similarly to how Mayden works, the team is taking an agile development approach to this project. This latest phase of work will later be followed by other planned changes including improvements to the backend database, which will allow IAPT providers to self-edit their referral contact information including links to online referral forms. This work is expected to be complete by early October 2018.

We are really pleased to be a part of this project – and others across the country – to support increased access to services via online referral forms. The vast majority of the IAPT community now use an electronic patient record linked online referral form to support the administration of online referrals directly into the service. Services using this method report increased access rates, reduced administrative burden, improved data quality and are more readily able to manage administrative capacity. With the further benefit of direct access links through NHS Choices, an EPR linked referral route can be a real benefit to staff, services, and most importantly – to patients.

If you do not currently use online self referrals, but would like to find out more please feel free to contact us or raise an iaptus support log.