National interest growing in innovative multimedia digital solution introduced by HDFT surgeon

Posted on: Friday 19 May 2023

Patients undergoing knee surgery at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT) are benefiting from an innovative new multimedia solution designed to improve their experience and understanding of their treatment, whilst also reducing unnecessary outpatient appointments.

Transforming outpatient services is a key commitment set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, with digital solutions playing an increasing role. As part of this work, HDFT have introduced a bespoke multimedia operation report for patients undergoing a knee arthroscopy – a type of keyhole surgery for checking or repairing the joint.

When patients undergoing knee arthroscopies were surveyed, almost 25% felt they were not alert enough to discuss their surgery in the post operation period, with three quarters unable to recall post operation instructions such as weight bearing advice. As a consequence, over half of patients required additional outpatient appointments to aid their understanding.

In 2020, Mr Dave Duffy, a consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at HDFT began developing a solution using a multimedia operation report for patients. Using the Arthrex Synergy Surgeon App, he devised a tool to provide patients with a clear understanding of what they have experienced. For each knee arthroscopy, the procedure is videoed with Mr Duffy adding a step by step audio explanation so that the patient can fully understand the procedure. The patient is also provided with access to videos explaining the next steps they should be taking in their recovery, from bandaging their wounds to appropriate exercises.

Since the introduction of the multimedia operation report, only 15 per cent of patients who have received it have felt they would need a further follow-up appointment.

Mr Dave Duffy said: “The multimedia solution we have introduced has proven to be a real success. All of the patients who have received a report have stated they found the video of the operation and the post operative advice very reassuring.

“The report puts patients’ minds at ease, provides answers to many of their questions and in many cases removes the need for further appointments or written communications, allowing the clinician to spend additional time helping other patients.

“We have received lots of enquiries about the innovation from other partners in the NHS and we are keen to share our learning to scale up the innovation for the benefits of patients.”

Russell Nightingale, Chief Operating Officer at HDFT said: “We are committed to providing the best possible healthcare service for our community and this innovative tool provides clear benefits for our patients, our Trust and the environment.

“By reducing the number of follow-up appointments we can use this time to treat other patients, which will have a positive impact on waiting times. There is also a clear environmental benefit too by reducing unnecessary transport journeys to the hospital.”

Dr Jacqueline Andrews, Medical Director and Executive Lead for Digital at HDFT said: “Our Trust’s strategy puts healthcare innovation at the heart of everything we do. Our purpose is to improve the health and wellbeing of our patients, children and communities, and digital transformation plays an important role in this.

“We want to invest in digital tools and services which makes it easier to provide the best quality, safest care and improves the experience for our patients. As a relatively small Trust we have the ability to be agile when it comes to innovation, rapidly piloting new innovations and gaining feedback fast, for the benefits of healthcare innovation businesses and the NHS.

“The UK has a thriving life sciences and digital health sector, and we want to make it as easy as possible for industry partners to work with us to drive through leading edge innovation for our patients. As a result, we have invested in an exciting new Healthcare Research and Innovation Hub which will be located at St James Park, Knaresborough, and is due to open in July.

“The aim is to enable rapid exchange and transfer of ideas relating to research, innovation and digital improvement, through sharing of knowledge and learning. The Hub will create an easy to access single front door for innovation and innovators into the Harrogate and District Health System and will enable closer working with business, academic and healthcare sectors.”