HUC’s Virtual Waiting Room shortlisted for the 2021 HSJ Awards

HUC is delighted to announce that our Virtual Waiting Room has been shortlisted for Driving Efficiency Through Technology Award at the HSJ Awards 2021, recognising HUC’s contribution to healthcare – in what has been an exceptional and challenging period.

Despite the demanding circumstances of the past 18 months, over 1,000 entries were received for this year’s HSJ Awards, with 205 organisations, projects and individuals making it to the final shortlist and we are proud to be one of them.

The judging panel consisted of a diverse group of respected figures from the healthcare community, including Sir Bruce Keogh (Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT); Marie Gabriel CBE (Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory); and former HSJ Trust of the Year winners Ann Marr OBE (Chief Executive, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust) and Richard Mitchell (Chief Executive, Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT).

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution, London on 18 November 2021.

HUC’s Virtual Waiting Room

As part of the NHS 111 First programme supporting direct booking into Emergency Departments (ED) which launched across England on 1 December 2020, locally we worked with colleagues from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and the EDs of Cambridge University Hospital (CUH) and North West Anglia Foundation Trust (NWAFT) to pilot an alternative pathway for patients directed to ED following an assessment by one of our clinicians in our contact centre.

This means that after an initial NHS 111 assessment, a patient may be ‘admitted’ to a Virtual Waiting Room for consultation with a specialised clinician or Emergency Department healthcare professional as an expansion of our CAS. The initiative supports management of ED referrals from NHS 111 using telephone and video technology provided by our telephony partner Content Guru to effectively manage patients without attending ED services. The ED clinicians can direct patients to other services, book ED appointments (in some cases ordering diagnostics in advance) or at other hospital departments such as Ambulatory Care Units, Ophthalmology and Early Pregnancy services. The impact of the Virtual Waiting Room has been felt across the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough health economy with an improved patient journey across the system.

Janice Greenhill, our COO, stated:

“We are delighted that HSJ has shortlisted HUC’s Virtual Waiting Room project for the Driving Efficiency Through Technology Award. We believe that innovation and partnership working play a big part in providing high quality care to those we serve while managing the current demands on the health system. Collaborating with our system partners, we put the patient at the heart and start of our care.”

Alistair McLellan, HSJ Editor, comments, “On behalf of all my colleagues, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate HUC on being nominated in the category of Driving Efficiency Through Technology Award. The applications we receive always present our panel of judges with a very difficult task as the standard is unfailingly high and the breadth of innovation and passion for patient care is always so inspiring.”

The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on here.