Background: The weight management service at Musgrove Park Hospital (MPH) receives around 30 new referrals a month which are currently triaged to be seen jointly by a physician and dietitian at the same visit, with a referral to treatment time (RTT) of 2832 weeks. The number of patients the service can see each month is limited by incompatible work patterns and lack of clinic space. We are receiving increasing numbers of referrals for complications of bariatric surgery such as hypoglycaemia, nutritional deficiencies and weight regain in addition to referrals for urgent weight loss to allow treatment of endometrial cancer. A new triaging system is required to (1) reduce the RTT to <18 weeks and (2) allow alternative treatment pathways.
Methods: We worked with the MPH Improvement Team and University College London (UCL) Computer Science students to devise a mobile application that would allow patients to complete a questionnaire that would triage them directly to three different treatment pathways. Patients would also be able to enter anthropometric and clinical data that could be tracked via an administration website and used for audit purposes. Piloted questions were provided to the students to allow appropriate triage to an initial group session and then either an urgent or routine outpatient appointment with a physician and dietitian, or with a dietitian or physician alone.
Results: The students have designed a mobile application compatible with iOS and Android devices that the patients would only be able download following a referral by their GP. After agreeing to the terms and conditions, they would then complete the questionnaire after their initial group session. Despite some setbacks the app will be ready to hand over to the Trust in June 2019 with a view to being ready to use in August 2019.
Conclusions: We are hopeful that the app will reduce the RTT of weight management referrals from 32 weeks to 18 weeks by identifying patients that only require dietetic input freeing consultant time to allow earlier review of patients with medical complications thus improving and standardising care.
Keywords: mobile application, weight management service
12 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019