As the NHS is under increasing financial pressure, service providers are constantly searching for ways to innovate to deliver cost savings without compromising care. At this year’s Health Service Journal Awards, widely known in the healthcare industry as the Oscars of the trade, the award for Improving Care with Technology was awarded to Communitas Clinics for their Teledermoscopy service delivered in Surrey Downs.
The team developed a real-time referral service to provide timely diagnosis and improve patients’ access to services. Using specialist technology GPs in surgeries in Surrey Downs are able to send clinical information and images to the dermatology specialists within the service and receive diagnoses and management plans. Rapid access to a specialist opinion means the amount of unnecessary secondary care referrals are reduced. Over 65% of patients referred to the service have avoided a referral to secondary care.
The service has been hugely successful – originally commissioned to roll out to 9 practices within 12 months, within 5 months 17 practices were signed up and there are now 21 practices in the Surrey Downs area who use the Communitas teledermoscopy service.
The HSJ reported today that “Judges were impressed by the significant cost savings that had been made and felt that the team had demonstrated very strong and clear benefits to patients.”
Christian Lyons, Managing Director of the service, is immensely proud of his team’s efforts: “Our core team worked really hard to develop this service model. We’re dedicated to reducing the costs for local commissioners without compromising on care, ensuring patients have a stunningly good service. This has been a hugely successful collaborative effort, working with great commissioners who have been instrumental in making sure this service is delivered exceedingly well.”
Read further coverage of our award in The Guardian newspaper