Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has unveiled a virtual clinic for the treatment of bone fractures with the aim of reducing the number of hospital visits and cutting waiting times.
It has announced the launch a month after the clinic went into operation, saying it has already reduced new outpatient appointments for fractures by 40%.
The clinic, which has been developed with clinical software company Bluespier, provides an alternative to face-to-face appointments, with patients requiring an orthopaedic review being booked into the virtual clinic rather than automatically attending a traditional one.
An orthopaedic consultant reviews x-rays and patient notes and specialist physiotherapists decide the best course of ongoing treatment.
Nikki Kelsall, consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, said: “We designed this service around our patients to ensure they were only attending hospital when absolutely necessary and when they do come they are seeing the right person the first time.
“We hope this new service will help us assess patients much sooner than was previously possible, as well as reduce the number of missed fracture appointments.
Poole Hospital said it hopes the clinic style will contribute to its paperless strategy, as discharged patients are followed up with advice and rehabilitation guidance by phone and email rather than paper letters where appropriate.
Virtual fracture clinics are becoming increasingly common in the NHS, with hospital trusts including the Royal Free, University College London, Mid Cheshire Hospitals and Brighton and Sussex University offering the service.
Image from Poole Hospital: Paula Reynolds, Nikki Kelsall, Kate Wallis and Simon Richards from the hospital’s virtual fracture clinic team