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Date: 23 September 2021

Time: 06:42

News archive

Image: man in discomfort making a phone call

New "PIFU" pathway to launch

Story posted/last updated: 07 September 2021

For many patients, follow-up outpatient appointments are a regular part of their care journey. These may take place at the hospital or as a virtual consultation and are usually booked at set intervals.

However, some patients may not need to be seen unless they experience certain symptoms; this means that patients without these symptoms may be given outpatient appointments that add little value to their care for them or that patients cannot be seen when their symptoms require a review. 

Patient initiated follow-up, or "PIFU" for short, describes a more responsive and flexible pathway where patients and their carers can book a follow-up appointment only in a situation when it’s needed, rather than waiting for their booked appointment.

This means follow-up appointments can be more convenient and help avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, saving patients money and time.

PIFU also gives patients more control over their own healthcare, whilst they also benefit from the full support of their clinical team when they need it.

It’s hoped that introducing PIFU will help ensure that patients who need to see their clinicians most urgently will be given the opportunity to do so.

Jack Bramhall, Programme Lead - Birmingham and Solihull Elective Care Hub, said “Unnecessary appointments can become an annoyance for patients who find themselves recovering as planned after hospital treatment yet still find themselves called in regularly ‘just in case’.  By introducing PIFU, we hope that patients will have easy access to their healthcare team when they need it.”

Patients on the pathway will be given a patient information leaflet and more information can be found via the link below. Hospital care teams will discuss specifics with patients in clinic, such as what signs and symptoms to look out for and how to contact them to book an appointment if one’s required.

The new pathway will be rolled out to some specialties later this year, with the musculoskeletal physiotherapy service one of the first to introduce it.

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