How to Improve Productivity & Efficiency in a Care Pathway

Judith Chapman, Clinical Director of Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust recently gave a very insightful presentation on how Berkshire Healthcare is managing to improve their productivity & efficiency rates of their IAPT online therapy service. Recovery rates of up to 50%, access rates of 15% and waiting times of 4 weeks are the key NHS targets based on NICE guidelines which mental health services like Berkshire are constantly striving towards. The challenge is not only to reach these targets but to reach them whilst still maintaining a high quality service under continuous financial pressures. Despite the obvious budgetary constraints which many services are under Judith Chapman maintains that investing in your staff through regular training, giving your staff autonomy in their work and good staff supervision is a key factor to improving productivity. If staff are confident in the service they are offering and know how to best provide this service then this will help increase productivity rates.

Consistent monitoring in the form of case management supervision is another useful way to help staff measure and improve their productivity. Also regular monitoring of DNA and productivity rates helps to highlight high performing and underperforming areas so the service is aware of which areas need to be improved. According to Berkshire Healthcare having the right pathway for your mental health service is another key factor in achieving efficiency. If the pathway isn’t working the Commissioner or Clinical Lead should be notified in order for it to be reviewed and changed. It’s important for mental health/ wellbeing service providers to remain flexible and open to new ways of doing things otherwise you may overlook a simple solution to improving efficiencies.

Berkshire Healthcare found that integrating SilverCloud Health online platform into their care path worked for them because it was easy to set up and fit into their care pathway. It fitted perfectly with their form of care provision via Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) which is an NHS initiative that aims to increase access to psychological therapies through the provision of evidence-based interventions delivered within a stepped-care model. Using quality clinical outcomes for staff to adhere to keeps them on the right track and able to clearly measure how well they and patients are doing in terms of recovery rates etc. For example when Berkshire staff are using the SilverCloud platform to treat clients they must ensure they have correctly diagnosed their client and that they use the correct disorder specific measurements where necessary for assessment.

For a service using an online therapy platform like SilverCloud having well trained peer supporters/PWP’s for supporting clients can help achieve more for less as this frees up the clinicians time for face-to-face appointments. Since integrating SilverCloud Health online platform into their care pathway Berkshire Healthcare have seen a significant increase in their productivity and efficiency rates. Berkshire Healthcare is currently saving on average 450 hours per month. They have achieved recovery rates of 56% using online, which uses less resources in terms of time and staff. This is on a par with the recovery rates they were achieving with other step 2 services like phone and face to face support. They have also achieved shorter waiting times – an average of 8.8 days for SilverCloud treatment and extended reach particularly to the remote communities of rural Berkshire with on average 100 new clients signed-up per month. These results show that if implemented well into a care pathway online therapeutic solutions can play their part in improving a mental health/wellbeing service provider’s efficiency and productivity rates. 

This very topical subject of practical examples for improving quality and efficiency will also be covered at the Commissioning Live conference on November 18th which we will be exhibiting at. If you are attending please drop by our stand number 095. To view Berkshire Health's presentation on which this article is based please click here.