Elective Recovery Technology Fund - NHSx funding to introduce digital consent

How many times have you listened to a presentation about issues with the consent process locally? How many times have you been told about legal changes and had updates to the GMC guidelines shared with you?

Historically consent has been one of those things we’ve known could be done better, but we haven’t quite been sure how to make improvements stick. So on we go with rushed consent conversations, often on the day of surgery, scribbling on carbon copy consent forms that remind us of a time before we were born. Agree?

Transforming the consent process is not an easy problem to solve, so it’s no wonder many had assumed that paper consent forms were here to stay. But the paper consent process is certainly not without its problems, and with changes in how we deliver services it’s becoming increasingly problematic.

By today, Concentric is proving day-in day-out that the consent process can be transformed, and improved for clinicians, patients and systems. I believe this tricky problem finally has a solution we can all get behind.

If you haven’t already, you should start thinking about digital consent this week.

Hot on the heels of recent NHSx funding specifically for the introduction of digital consent and digital pre-op assessment solutions, comes a significantly bigger pot of technology funding to accelerate elective recovery. The Elective Tech Recovery Fund is a £250m pot for 2021-22 which again highlights digital consent as an area to consider.

NHSx don’t do long application time frames - applications need to be submitted by each Integrated Care System (ICS) by the 29th October 2021.

The funding will likely go to ICS organisations who present a cohesive plan which uses technology to unlock productivity and care improvements across pathways, so do get in touch to find out about our amazing partners and integrations. DigitalHealth.London recently looked at the opportunities to use digital technologies to support elective recovery - their write up is worth a read.

Need convincing? Read on.

The reason NHSx are prioritising digital consent is to support elective recovery, with an aim to get above 110% business as usual (BAU) activity. Digital consent does this through enabling safe, remote pre-op pathways, alongside a digital pre-op solution, so that surgical admissions can be as efficient as possible - reducing delays and costly cancellations. A proven solution across a number of NHS Trusts, including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Concentric can be confidently introduced across a Trust or ICS.

Paper consent processes can cause delays in a number of ways, not only in terms of being time-consuming to complete on the day, but also in terms of the risk of lost consent forms with increasing cross-site work. Consent issues are a key contributor to on-the-day cancellations. Sharing personalised information, likely outcomes, and potential risks early ensures patients can give their informed consent well before walking through the doors of the hospital, confident that this is the right option for them.

There is no shortage of other reasons to make 2021 the year you introduce digital consent into your practice - yes, this year, fully integrated into local systems- such as; improving shared decision making between patient and clinician, and; solving the challenge of inappropriate variation, omission of key information, and associated medico-legal risks of the paper consent process - a recent paper in the British Journal of Surgery revealed that out of 575 consent forms reviewed, over 51% contained errors.

Whilst these are all good things, we know that, maybe selfishly, as clinicians we long for healthcare software to be a joy to use. Traditionally, too often that hasn’t been the case. But go and ask a Concentric user what they think about using it day to day…