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Patients on new PIFU pathway

Published on 02/11/2021

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) has launched a new way of caring for patients on an outpatient pathway.

Patient-initiated follow-up, or "PIFU" for short, describes a more responsive and flexible pathway which allows patients to arrange follow-up appointments when they feel they need them, or if their symptoms get worse. Eligible patients no longer have routine appointments at set intervals and can avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, saving money and time.

While the Trust is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hoped that offering PIFU, as well as traditional outpatient pathways, will help to ensure that patients who need to see their clinicians most urgently will be given the opportunity to do so.

PIFU appointments are currently offered in several clinics within musculoskeletal therapy services, dermatology and endocrinology. These appointments can be face-to-face, or virtual consultations via telephone or video.

Dr Paul Gazzani, Consultant Dermatologist, said: “For our patients, PIFU offers a much more patient-centred experience as we can see patients when they need us, rather than at ‘just in case’ appointments at set intervals. Patients have more control over their own healthcare, while also benefitting from the full support of their clinical team when they need it most. For dermatology patients in particular, where flares of some inflammatory skin conditions are unpredictable, it facilitates early intervention and symptom management.”

PIFU will be rolled out across the Trust over the coming months so hospital teams can offer PIFU to patients who would benefit from this pathway.

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