Yes, it’s true. 71% of letters sent via Patients Know Best (PKB) to registered patients do not need to be posted. This is because PKB tracks that the patients have read each of these letters and our NHS customers can, therefore, stop posting them.
Accelerating cash savings
Savings accelerate as NHS customers begin to register more patients and send more data to each patient. The increase in non-letters data sent means that patients log into their account more often, and are therefore more likely to read letters data. All these factors are inter-related and ultimately, increase savings.
These savings are being used to finance the approach by many of our customers going live in 2019. Our ‘Gainshare’ model means that we only receive a share of the cash savings our customers achieve. So ultimately, if they do not save cash, we do not get paid. PKB is paid a share of the gains, so the NHS is left with extra cash from this efficiency.
Of course, the NHS is saving a lot more than postage costs here. Avoiding posting a letter about an appointment saves £1 but, avoiding the appointment in the first place saves £100, and preventing an emergency department visit saves £1,000. For inflammatory bowel disease patients, avoiding medications, appointments and surgery saved £4 million. This is great news for the health of the patient and the local health economy.
Postage avoidance is an easy metric for PKB to track with finance teams, so it is a perfect way to self-finance the use of PKB.
This creates a virtuous cycle. The more patients move to digital, the more money the NHS saves and the more informed and prepared patients are for their care or treatment.
Finding the right formula
By moving to digital, you can dramatically increase the rate of improvement.
Having high-level data allows us to run some useful experiments. This month we are rolling out reminders for messages not read after 24 hours. We will track if this increases the rate at which messages are read within 48 hours. We can then see which text improves the read rate further. Running these types of experiments is much easier, faster and cheaper by being digital. Working across many healthcare organisations enables us to analyse data from multiple providers (a disadvantage for individual hospitals who try to build their own software). Additionally, it facilitates the running of experiments by technology companies rather than national government departments. Our PKB developers simply deliver all the results directly to our customers in weekly upgrades. (And, if you would like to work at PKB as a developer doing things just like this, we are hiring!)
Many interesting findings have already emerged from analysing the data. For example, we have found that the read rate is 20 percentage points lower for letters sent on weekends. There are fewer such letters sent on weekends, of course, so the sample size is smaller – but the drop seems significant.
Different customers have different read rates, varying between 66% and 75%. Interestingly, we have found that the NHS customer with the highest read rate is located in a more deprived area and has fewer patient registrations, yet they are the most engaged or activated patients on average.
Please note, PKB does not have any ability to access patient records. For more information about how data is used, click here.
We will continue to publish our findings but if you would like to find out more about our Gainshare model for your patients, please contact us.