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July 14, 2023

Provide boosts sexual health service access with digital innovation

Already utilising the Inform Sexual Health electronic patient record (EPR) application in clinics, Provide can now offer patients of Essex Sexual Health Service and Thurrock Sexual Health Service the ability to securely book/amend appointments and receive results online, order STI testing kits and condoms by post or for collection, and complete triage interactions that direct to the most appropriate level of care.

Since its go live on 1st April 2023, 7,669 PHR accounts have been created by patients, 3256 triage interactions recorded, and 2,408 postal testing kit orders placed.

Commenting on the success of the roll out, Sue Luty, Sexual Health Systems Lead for Essex Sexual Health Service, said:

“The roll out has been a big success so far, with PHR exceeding our expectations in relation to increasing access. Not only are existing service users using PHR but we have patients registering for PHR who have never accessed sexual health services before, which just demonstrates how effective the system is in removing barriers and opening up access.

“Using PHR with our existing Inform clinic system is improving patient care and streamlining our service; giving us a more holistic view and the ability to target certain populations more effectively, which we’ve done recently with PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) users. We now have a full picture of what’s going on with the population and testing and can be more innovative and pro-active in the way we deliver services, including extending partnership working with the wider healthcare system to reach difficult to engage groups and tackle inequality.”

Kez Spelman, Provide’s Director for Innovation and Community Resilience, believes PHR is helping to create a “truly integrated service from an information and data perspective.” Kez explains the significance:

“Information in PHR links seamlessly with our Inform Sexual Health application, which underpins everything we do. By having this unified information flow, we’re better placed to make smarter decisions around focusing resource and developing services, which is just gold.”

Discussing the role PHR will play in extending opportunities for collaboration, Kez continues:

“What’s especially exciting is how Inform Health’s technology can support our service to take the leap from concept to delivery where enhanced collaboration is concerned.

“Community pharmacies represent a clear opportunity to expand access and offer more choice to patients, whether that’s collecting contraception or being tested for STIs. However, without communication, accountability, and governance, it’s difficult to make a meaningful and measurable impact. The Inform Sexual Health application with the PHR provides the underpinning connexion, governance, and assurance to make increased collaboration like this possible, which in turn makes improving access and addressing inequalities more achievable.”

Subsequent phases of the project will introduce functionality to support self-managed STI treatment, contraception, and partner notification, image and document share, mobile device check-in, and self-taken histories. Enhanced collaboration with third party providers will also be made possible via the Inform Healthcare Partner module.

Inform Health’s Commercial Director, Susan Bunn, is “looking forward to seeing Essex Sexual Health Service deliver on its ambitious plans”. Susan comments:

“We developed PHR to empower patients to engage more easily with services and self-manage appropriate aspects of their care, whilst supporting services to rise to the challenges of increasing patient demand as cost effectively as possible.

“Provide is an incredibly forward-thinking organisation that is harnessing the latest integrated technology to offer patients more choice and control, while driving service transformation to deliver a greater, more targeted impact across Essex.

“We’re delighted with the success of the implementation and look forward to working closely with Provide to support them to continue blazing the trail for sexual health service innovation.”

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