21 May 2021

Comparing the Justice System to a Hospital – what does the experience look like?

Guest blog: Natasha Potgieter, Director, Justice Sector, CGI as part of our #DigitalJustice2021 week

What could the Justice system learn from a digital hospital transformation that has put its ‘end users’ (patients) at the heart of the implementation? You could make strong comparisons with hospital appointments and court hearings – with doctors and patients coming together like prosecution and defence. If you then consider the potential vulnerability of the patient in this often traumatic, life changing experience, the parallels are quite prominent.  

The Macmillan Cancer Centre, part of the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) is a state of the art Outpatient facility, a focal point for both Cancer patients and the staff who treat them.  

Much like the CJS, , the patient and staff experience for Cancer treatment was fragmented and uncoordinated, patients needing multiple appointments had to attend them on different days and in various locations. There were also numerous communication channels between the Trust departments and the patients. This is much like what we have today with multiple CJS agencies using various levels of technology and disconnected systems to move a case through from start to finish. The UCLH Trust had a vision of a custom-built Cancer Centre with services designed around the needs of the staff and patients, moving away from individual and uncoordinated appointments that involved repeat visits over the lifecycle of the ‘patient journey’ to a more joined up and connected experience.  

UCLH implemented a number of digital solutions that were designed around the end user needs but also ensured that the journey from start to finish was considered, so that the overall end solution was that of a digitally connected experience. This delivered a wealth of benefits including: 

  • a scheduling solution to automatically schedule appointments based on data from multiple systems, on the same day where possible and automatically issuing a single letter with details of all appointments direct to the patient  

  • Staff were able to access information anywhere and at any time from any one of the hospital computers or their mobile device  

  • The use of automated reminder notices and text messaging improved attendance  

  • Visual monitors in the Wards allowed for staff to review patient information quickly and in real time  

  • kiosks throughout the hospital allowed patients to check in for their appointment without the need to queue or speak to anyone, the kiosks also provided the user with an interactive map to show them exactly where they needed to go for their appointment  

  • an integrated Patient Portal where patients could view their documents and message their clinical team directly; and 

  • an integrated GP Portal where GP’s could view their documents and message the clinical team in the Cancer Centre directly relating to their patient’s cases  

The outcome was a connected and improved experience for patients and staff, which also brought efficiencies for the Trust. Given how well this was received by the all the users and the similarities with the challenges faced by the Criminal Justice System there’s much to be gained by implementing similar solutions.