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NHS England - Transformation Directorate

Rheumatology pathway

A step by step guide to the rheumatology pathway

  1. Self-management

    Digital support for patients seeking self-help resources when they need it.

  2. Referral management

    Providing advice and guidance to patients virtually, and using technology to enable self-referral so patients can receive the support they need.

  3. Primary care

    Digital solutions for early access to diagnostics and advice for primary care. This includes supporting staff with quick advice by using advanced communication tools and image sharing where helpful.

  4. Diagnostics

    Digital solutions for reporting on diagnostics remotely. This includes shared care records and diagnostic networks that support sharing patient information.

  5. Outpatients

    Digital solutions to streamline digital pathways for booking appointments (most of which are virtual). These solutions also include portals and remote platforms for messaging clinical teams.

  6. Surgery or inpatients

    Digital solutions to carry out preoperative assessments, collect postoperative clinical outcomes and for sharing prehabilitation resources with patients.

  7. Community services and rehabilitation

    Digital solutions to enable urgent and routine referrals to secondary care. These solutions also support shared decision making for diagnostics, physiotherapy management and rehabilitation for patients.

  8. Discharge

    Digital solutions to provide accurate information to help patients manage their condition after they’ve been discharged.

  9. Patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) after discharge

    Digitally supporting patients who meet an agreed criteria to book a PIFU appointment.

    Learn more about the rheumatology direct access service at the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, the PIFU community (account required), and the Cochrane review.