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Trust scoops HSJ Partnership Award with collaboration to reduce number of cancelled outpatient appointments

A pilot project that helped to cut the number of outpatient appointments being cancelled has earned the Trust a leading national award.

The collaboration between University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, tech giant IBM and process intelligence platform provider Celonis won the Best Healthcare Analytics Project category at the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Partnership Awards.

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse processes, the pilot identified a spike in last-minute cancellations in a particular cohort of patients after two SMS reminders had been sent.

Through this work, we found messaging 14 days before an appointment and a follow-up four days before was most effective, as it meant they could cancel earlier and re-book the appointment in plenty of time. This saw a reduction in Did Not Attends (DNA) in this subset of patients from 10 per cent to four.

UHCW Chief Executive Officer, Professor Andy Hardy, said: “I’m very proud to see the Trust pick up this prestigious award.

“Through these exciting technologies we have been able to make changes far more quickly than we would have before.

“Using AI gives us a far bigger picture of our patient demographics and needs, rather than just booking them in for appointments chronologically, and massively improves the patient experience.

“We know getting patients seen quickly improves outcomes and we are looking forward to continuing to work with AI and expand its use for the benefit of more patients.”

Following the success of the project, funding was allocated to further test the concept and this work is under way.

The team picked up their award in a ceremony at Evolution London, where they were also a bronze winner in the Best Elective Care Recovery Initiative category.

Rahul Kalia, Managing Partner UK&I, IBM Consulting, said: "We are proud to work with the Trust to help revolutionise healthcare productivity.

“The innovative use of design thinking, IBM Generative AI with watsonx and process intelligence with Celonis is empowering UHCW in its drive to address the challenge of NHS waiting lists.

“This partnership is making tangible strides towards enhancing patient care and improving healthcare outcomes for all."

Amélie Bouiller, NHS Account Director at Celonis, added: “We are very proud of how UHCW have improved their productivity to see more patients every week with Celonis.

“By applying lessons learned from other Celonis customers in the private sector, they are blazing a trail in the NHS generating huge productivity gains at speed with process intelligence and AI."

A panel of 91 judges rigorously assessed entries across 28 categories, reflecting the breadth and depth of collaborative efforts in UK healthcare.

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