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East London NHS Trust digitises mental health referrals


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Mental health nurse with patient
Image source: Thalamos

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) is digitising key forms and processes for mental health referrals.

It is implementing the Thalamos platform for creating and sharing patient forms to support clinicians in complying with the terms of the Mental Health Act.

This follows a pilot project in City and Hackney and will involve more than 1,000 clinicians and staff using the platform, with ELFT planning to onboard teams in a phased approach.

Digitised clinical pathways for treatment, hospital admission and community treatment orders will include prompts to ensure that all necessary information is entered before forms are sent. Practitioners will then be able to securely share the information via encrypted email and upload it against existing patient records.

Thalamos said this should sharply reduce time spent on administration reduce the risk of delays in treatment caused by the incompletion, loss or damage of paper forms. In addition, the encryption will help maintain legal compliance and provide safeguards for patient confidentiality. 

Crucial to evolve

Paul Gilluly, chief medical officer of ELFT, said: “With a considerable rise in demand for acute mental healthcare over the past few years, it is more crucial than ever for services to adapt and evolve.

“Digital transformation is key to achieving this. By embracing it we have the power to modernise significant care pathways – improving outcomes, maintaining care quality and speeding up access to treatment.  

“This involves removing any potential barriers to treatment and making care pathways easier to navigate. For our practitioners, it’s about introducing systems which enable them to spend more time with their service users. And for our service users, it’s optimising pathways to ensure safer, quicker access to quality care.”

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