NHS Hospitals are focused on maximising their capacity to treat COVID-19. Treatment capacity is being released through the cancellation of non-critical surgery, day cases and most outpatient clinics – this is likely to continue for at least three more months.
Those outpatient clinics that do run, are being moved from face-to-face to video or telephone appointments. Clinicians will increasingly have to run outpatient clinics from home, whilst they themselves self-isolate.
Over the coming weeks these challenges will grow in complexity:
Patients will need to be managed based on ‘need’ as opposed to ‘position on a waiting list’Many non-critical ambulatory appointments will need to be managed remotelyClinicians working from home will need to manage outpatient lists via telephoneLetters informing patients of new appointments, or altered locations may arrive after the appointment time
Patient Initiated
Most patients understand that the NHS needs their support. Shifting to a patient initiated follow up (PIFU) model rapidly, where the patient is actively involved in their care planning, should significantly reduce the administrative burden placed on Hospitals.
At Zesty, we’re working around the clock to support our current customers with our integrated patient portal platform. For those Hospitals not already using our integrated patient portal platform, our stand-alone booking platform can help support this shift to patient-led booking in days not weeks.
Stand-alone online booking for telephone/ video based call-backs & consultations
Our ‘stand-alone’ booking platform is now being rolled out at several large London Hospitals. This platform has been providing secondary, community and primary care appointment booking for several years, across more than 20 NHS sites.
As a stand-alone platform, it’s not integrated into PAS. Therefore there are some key benefits to this model:
New services can be deployed online in a matter of hours.Capacity can be flexed within moments – simply increase or decrease the number of available slots.Structured worklists are generated based on patient bookings, allowing clinicians to efficiently call patients, from anywhere with an internet connection.Advice and guidance and a degree of basic triage can be rapidly published, for each bookable service, informing patients who should and should not book an appointment.It’s an easy to use and intuitive platform, that requires minimal training. We are shortly launching in-line training, to allow Hospital admin teams and clinicians to self-train. We estimate no more than 30 minutes of training time per user.
Capturing accurate phone numbers & email addresses
For each patient that books online, the Hospital will gain an up to date phone number and the right email address, as a minimum.
Video based appointments
For those Hospitals wanting to deploy a video consultation platform (i.e. Attend Anywhere or MS Teams) – the booking confirmation SMS and Email can contain the correct link for patients to click on, allowing them to join the video providers waiting room.
Our stand-alone platform can send links to any online service as a result of a completed booking, allowing efficient patient onboarding to any online service Hospitals wish to deploy.
Stand-alone Diary – add/remove appointment slots in seconds, build 1 to 10 week templates
Patient and Booking Tab – can be used as a worklist of patients to call, download into CSV/Excel
We’re acutely aware at Zesty of just how challenging the current pandemic will be to our friends and customers working in NHS Hospitals. Whatever we can do to help, we will.
How will trust staff be able to access the application?
The application is internet-based meaning that any member of trust staff with a login (supplied by Zesty) and an internet connection will have access. There are minimum browser requirements Zesty recommends using Google Chrome.
How secure is the application?
The application is hosted on AWS London (the same service hosting NHS 111 and e-RS) and is compliant with the DSP Toolkit. The platform is currently in use at over 20 NHS sites.
How long is patient data persisted?
The length of data retention is configurable by the Trust. But Zesty will set as an ephemeral record in line with Appendix3 of the NHS Records Code of Management Code 2016.
How quickly can the system be deployed?
Being a stand-alone application, with no integration work required, Zesty would aim to standup a service in 48 to 72 hours. Timelines will vary according to the number of clinics and the variety of customization required.
How will patients know what to access?
There are multiple routes to direct patients towards the online booking pages these could be:
An SMS to patients with existing appointments that are due to be cancelledThe main trust website page containing information regarding Covid19 and clinic cancellationsIndividual services pages on the trust websiteAn automated message on the trust switchboard number
Is there training available?
Yes, the application itself is very intuitive and for those requiring some additional help there are training materials available. Shortly we will be introducing an application walkthrough in the stand-alone diary.
Is there support available?
Yes, via the trusts account manager. We are confident staff will find the system intuitive to use.

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