Case study: patient communication on Trust website

One of the challenges we see whilst deploying Concentric is that patients question the legitimacy of communication received from ‘Concentric’ – a service they are unlikely to be familiar with.

In communications from Concentric, patients are asked to click a link to view their information, entering their date of birth as a method of verifying identity. Understandably this raises suspicion for a reasonable number of patients who worry that the message is a spam email trying to find out their date of birth.

To counter this, as well as share futher information about the consent process locally and any deployment specific information such as the organisation’s privacy notice, most deploying organisations add details regarding Concentric to their patient-facing website. A link to that page can then be automatically added to all emails sent by Concentric on behalf of the organisation’s clinicians. This gives patients access to key information and reassures that this is legitimate communication regarding their care.

The team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust created a digital consent microsite for the rollout of Concentric at their Trust, and we think it is an amazing resource for their patients to refer to; they have truly gone above and beyond to ensure that their patients are well informed about Concentric. Take a look!

Visit Bradford’s microsite

The microsite contains a video giving an overview of digital consent:

Additionally, there are videos giving; a more in-depth explanation of digital consent; an overview of who will be using Concentric, and; guidance on how to use Concentric as a patient, alongside answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

The team behind the microsite

We got in touch with the team involved in producing the microsite to ask them about their experience.

“Being able to offer digital consent is a great step forward for our Trust. At the same time, as with any new initiative, we need to keep our patients fully informed of the new process and its implications. Our microsite provides a wealth of information to answer common queries such as: what is digital consent?, why it is being rolled out? and how is my data protected? We will be sharing this with our patients in advance of their hospital visit so that when they meet our doctors and nurses are fully informed, allowing the conversation to focus on clinical issues.”

Christos Fysarakis Head of Innovation, VRI Programme Lead

Alison Mellor (Project Manager, Going Digital), who is steering the implentation of Concentric at Bradford, said “this way of working will provide patients with the flexibility and time to consider their options and view the literature associated to their proposed treatment. The provision of the Digital Consent microsite takes our patients and colleagues through that journey and provides an opportunity to consider the consent process at their own pace and in the home environment”.

Simon Couth, Head of the Working Academy at The University of Bradford – the media and digital development partners for the microsite – explained “we know that better informed patients are more responsive and accepting of changes in medical processes or treatments. Proactively getting the message out there about the benefits digital consent offers will make a difference to the way in which not just patients but staff to respond to this new initiative.”

Speaking about digital consent more broadly, Dr Christopher Bull, Pain Management Consultant, described how Concentric will improve the patient and clinician experience of the consent process by “providing a reliable, efficient, and secure consent pathway…helping patients to make an informed decision regarding their treatment option, supporting a shared decision making process”.

The patient perspective

Several of the videos on the digital consent microsite feature Stewart Ross, a member of the Bradford Association of Visually Impaired People (BAVIP), a volunteer campaign cooridnator for the RNIB, and a Guide Dog Owner. Stewart gave a patient perspective on the use of Concentric:

Stewart told us that “digital consent is a step forward for patients with a visual impairment. Using assisted technology those with sight loss can now fully participate in the consent process allowing them to ‘read’ and discuss the details of the procedure with the medical professional during the consultation and later enabling them to do the same with family members”.

It’s fantastic to see direct patient involvement in a project of this nature, and we are grateful to Stewart for his time and participation.

Deploying organisations

Whilst we are not suggesting that every organisation deploying Concentric needs to create a media-rich microsite like the one has been developed at Bradford, we do recommend that there is some patient-facing information on your website.

We are happy to provide assistance with this, but a webpage with an overview of Concentric, answers to FAQs and details of who to contact if any issues arise is a good place to start!

“Change can often be a cause of anxiety and it is important that such a change as the move from paper based consent to a digital system is properly explained. The inclusion of a video on the website, that methodically takes an individual through the process is a key element in reassuring visually impaired patients that they fully understand the procedure.”

Stewart Ross Patient, Member of Bradford Association of Visually Impaired People

Further reading

Sharing information with patients

A summary of how information is shared with patients within Concentric, including the benefits of sharing information digitally.