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System C presents leading HSJ award to Saxmundham Health

16th November 2011

System C last night presented Saxmundham Health with a prestigious award for delivering real improvements to patient care through the use of technology.

The GP practice was selected for a very simple refinement of the GP referral process which has resulted in a 20% reduction in hospital outpatient appointments and ensured that patients are treated in the appropriate setting according to clinical need.

System C, sponsors of the HSJ ‘improving care with technology’ award for the 7th year running, made the presentation to Saxmundham Health at the HSJ Awards 2011 ceremony held last night at Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

The winning project involved creating virtual on-screen clinics, using existing Choose & Book technology, for all GP referrals to Ipswich Hospital. A consultant reviews each case within 72 hours and decides whether the patient needs a hospital appointment.

Saxmundham Health explained that referrals to hospital no longer existed. GPs now ask consultants for advice about managing particular patients and one of the options for the consultant is to offer a hospital outpatient assessment. Other options are an appointment in the community clinic or a community action plan for the GP and patient to follow together.

 “This is a fantastic example of how technology can be used intelligently to help change established behaviours and improve care pathways”, said Dr Ian Denley, senior vice president of System C.

“Saxmundham Health has introduced this new system with minimum capital outlay, using existing technologies, and has achieved reduced outpatient tariff costs. Most important, it has also significantly improved the care offered to patients by ensuring they are spared unnecessary journeys and are treated in the right place for their needs,” Dr Denley explained.

The project is now being rolled out at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

Overall, eight projects were shortlisted for the HSJ IT award. South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust was highly commended by judges for an advanced computer programme for detecting the early signs of Alzheimer's disease from a routine clinical brain scan.

Criteria for entry included making use of IT to improve patient outcomes and organisation efficiency, engaging with clinicians, supporting new ways of working, and mainstreaming working between trusts and the private sector.