In 2020, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) launched SystmOne’s AutoPlanner for its Community Nursing services. The Trust, which employs nearly 6000 staff and is the main provider of Community Care across Brighton, Hove, East and West Sussex, is also spearheading a Cross Trust AutoPlanner Network, helping participating Trusts to learn from the experiences of other users.
As caseloads grow, allocation of staff resources has come to occupy a significant degree of administrative time. This work is normally managed by senior clinicians. Autoplanner helps to cut down this administrative time, freeing up clinicians to focus more on patient care.
The rollout of Autoplanner allowed the Trust to use SystmOne’s intelligent staff scheduling functionality, which automatically schedules visits across organisations on a daily basis. The feature considers geography and the type of care needed, as well as other patient and clinical preferences to match the right clinician with the right patient.
AutoPlanner optimises the number of patients staff can see in a day while ensuring that the standard of care remains high. It finds the most efficient routes to reduce clinicians’ travel time between visits and includes an integrated mapping functionality, showing staff locations and allowing overtime to be monitored. When implemented by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, the functionality saved 12 hours of clinical staff time per day, while face-to-face patient contact time amongst nurses increased from 31% to 71%.
These clear improvements delivered by AutoPlanner have been replicated in Sussex, with a 34% time saving on visit allocation, as well as a 22% reduction in mileage. Following SCFT’s implementation of AutoPlanner, 23% more visits were made by their community nurses, a clear indicator of administrative efficiencies directly benefiting those who need care. These improvements led the Trust to significantly accelerate its rollout of the AutoPlanner as it looks to assist clinicians in their handling of COVID-19 on the frontline. Kelly Rocher, Clinical Lead at SCFT, said “It’s so much quicker. It’s going to make a great difference to the way we allocate our visits and save a lot of time.”
The system remains highly customisable through the availability of sliders, which allow organisations to prioritise factors such as wait time, overtime, distance or equal workload, dependent on the Trust’s size and preferences. Clinicians are still able to make changes and reallocate as required, guaranteeing a continuing of clinical control, whilst experiencing the time-saving benefits of the functionality. One staff member commented: “Allocation used to take all day. It now takes about half a day and that time is spent on clinical decision making instead of manual movement of patients from one list to another with far less time to review clinically.”
The implementation followed successful pilots in both Leicestershire and Hertfordshire, and SCFT has set up a TPP AutoPlanner group for other Trusts which use the functionality. The Cross Trust AutoPlanner Network allows for collaboration between organisations as they look to understand how different Trusts use AutoPlanner and support those in the implementation stage. The group should therefore help Trusts realise the benefits of saved time and better allocation of clinicians made possible by AutoPlanner, further enhancing the delivery of clinically-focussed care for SCFT and others.
If your trust is interested in joining SCFT’s Cross Trust AutoPlanner Network, please contact Antonia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.