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Marie Loizides puts her MSK background to good use in developing a bespoke digital referral tool


Marie Loizides, a physiotherapist by background, has been appointed as associate director of performance analytics at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust.

It’s been a busy autumn for the newly-promoted Marie, whose blog on building and implementing a digital referral tool for the trust’s musculoskeletal (MSK) pathway appeared last month on Digital Health.London’s website.

At that time, Marie held a therapy manager’s post at the east London NHS trust and wrote in her capacity as one of Digital Health.London’s latest digital pioneer fellows.

What is Marie’s project about?

The aim of Marie's digital referral tool is to enable busy clinicians to reach decisions about patients with MSK issues at the point of referral, ensuring they are streamed to the correct service straight away.

The tool, she writes, could ‘free up’ GPs’ time (to the equivalent of 13,000 appointments a year), reduce waiting lists to orthopaedic services by 30 per cent and ensure patients receive the ‘best care’.  

Marie writes: ‘In a way it will be like having the consultant in the room with the GP, as the questions and answers the tool use are those that have been written jointly between consultants and GPs.'

Marie’s unusual career path

It was great to be able to work with individuals from different trusts and NHS backgrounds with a common goal to use digital technology to improve care for our patients and wellbeing of our staff [Marie Loizides]

Having left school at 16 and going on to work as a systems administrator and programmer, Marie decided to study physiotherapy at the University of East London. To keep herself in ‘marmite and toilet rolls’, she also worked part-time in programming until graduating in 2000. 

Her passion for the NHS – fuelled by being in ‘supportive teams’ and having ‘inspirational patients’ – led to Marie specialising in MSK outpatient physiotherapy over the next two decades (she also brought up two sons – now teenagers – with husband Pete).

Working as a therapy manager re-kindled Marie’s interest in digital matters and she successfully applied for a digital pioneer fellowship, which last one year. This gave her access to a programme of structured learning supplemented by coaching in action learning sets, Marie writes in her blog.

‘It was great to be able to work with individuals from different trusts and NHS backgrounds with a common goal to use digital technology to improve care for our patients and wellbeing of our staff.’

Looking to the future

Marie, who received an Empower award in recognition of her professional development during the fellowship, adds: ‘I feel very privileged and proud to be part of this improvement journey. With MSK providing a proof of concept, my vision for the future for our health economy is to have all outpatient services (not just MSK) on a digital referral tool. In our area this will have a positive influence for over a quarter of a million referrals.'

Marie’s hobbies

Having enjoyed scuba diving while visiting Australia, Marie became an instructor and now teaches others at a diving club in Essex. She is also a keen singer – a highlight was being a member of the Funky Voices choir that supported Erasure in front of an audience of 19,000 people at the O2 in London.

To find out more about Digital Health.London, visit: https://digitalhealth.london

Potential bloggers should email: info@digitalHealth.london

To read about physio Sean Buttner’s role at Digital Health.London, visit: https://www.physioupdate.co.uk/news/in-a-qa-for-physioupdate-sean-buttner-explains-what-his-role-as-a-digital-nhs-navigator-entails/ 



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