We spoke to John Walter from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust about how CareLineLive has helped to improve efficiency within the Bridging Service that he manages.

What is your role within your NHS Foundation Trust?

I am Head of Integrated Care at the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust; I look after the Bridging Service that uses CareLineLive and other services which are the Hospital at Home and Discharge to Assess.

Could you describe the services you provide that are similar to providing domiciliary care?

We support people being able to get out of hospital earlier and to avoid admission to hospital, by providing care to those who are experiencing a delay in getting social care. Three to four days is the average time that patients stay in our service.

Bridging is there to support same day discharge in line with our Discharge to Assess policy that was bought in due to Covid – patients have to leave within 4 hours of being medically safe to do so.

We cover the whole of Mid and South Essex, working with three acute hospitals and three local authorities.

Our service has been available since 2016 and since Covid our service has seen increased usage by at least 10-fold. Since 2019, we have grown from a team of c. 35 staff to >80 staff.  We now accept the same number of patients per month than what we used to accept in a year.

Was it straightforward complying with your internal procurement processes when you decided to use CareLineLive?

We bought in CareLineLive just after Covid hit and we needed to get it onboarded quickly, the procurement process was straightforward. There were checks carried out to ensure it was on budget but it was not a drawn-out procurement process.

What were the pain points you were trying to solve when you were looking for a software solution?

Before CareLineLive we used a paper-based system – all our care notes and scheduling were on paper. This required more administrative staff and more time as each member of staff had to drive to our office to pick up the paperwork before going to see the patient. Before Covid, I knew we needed to digitise but when Covid hit, the need was expedited.

Our paper-based solution worked when our service was small but not when we were growing, so moving to a digital care management system was a strategic decision as well.

Why did you choose CareLineLive?

The main reason we choose CareLineLive is because one of my service managers knew a service provider who was using CareLineLive. They said it was fantastic and did all the things we needed it to do, so it was a word-of-mouth recommendation. We also looked online to research other home care software providers for due diligence.

Now that you have been using CareLineLive for over a year, what are the main benefits you’ve achieved?

The main benefit CareLineLive has delivered is taking our service into the 21st Century with digital note writing and scheduling. Plus, from a cost benefit analysis point of view, CareLineLive has saved mileage cost, printing costs and the need to grow our office administration. Additionally, the flexibility and support, from the team has been really great as we have tailored CareLineLive for our service.

Overall, service efficiency and improvements have been the main benefits.

Has CareLineLive enabled improvements of some of your KPIs?

Using CareLineLive has allowed our Bridging Service to grow 10-fold, without CareLineLive this would not been possible. This in turn has resulted in less pressure on the NHS and better patient care being delivered.

The positive impact on our KPIs is evident:

Between April 2019-March 2020 – 5,331 bed days were saved across Mid and South Essex, which equates to c. 14 beds not needing to be opened.

Between April 2020–March 2021 – c.13,000 bed days were saved, equating to c. 36 beds not needing to be opened.

Between April 2021 – 30th November 2021 (8 months) – 11,353 bed days were saved, equating to c. 47 beds not needing to be opened.

What would be your recommendation to other NHS trusts providing similar services as you who are using legacy systems or other solutions?

CareLineLive is a fantastic electronic record solution for any service that has a need for remote patient care in the community. It enables staff to work remotely, document remotely and be scheduled electronically. Due to the flexibility of the team, there may be ways that CareLineLive can tailor its software to service providers, if needed.

CareLineLive is the best solution if you want to be more efficient, transform your services and future proof your ways of working and delivering patient care. It helps services be more sustainable, be more GDPR compliant and mitigate against data issues. It is also scalable as it operates on Amazon Web Services.  

The Support Team at CareLineLive are always very responsive; they are fast at getting to the bottom of a problem and are much quicker in comparison to other NHS systems. From a cost benefits analysis perspective, CareLineLive is an additional cost but conversely, we are making savings because my headcount and mileage costs have decreased. As a result, we have included CareLineLive in our Efficiency Scheme within the trust.

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