‘Patient-initiated follow-up’ (or PIFU, for short) is not a new idea and has been referred to in different ways over time, such as open-access appointments, self-managed follow-up, and see-on-symptom appointments. However, this approach has been given renewed attention given rising waiting times and the backlog of care that built up throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moving outpatient attendances to patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) pathways is considered a key part of plans to reduce outpatient follow-ups. But what exactly is PIFU? In this Nuffield Trust explainer, Sarah Reed and Nadia Crellin describe more about what it is, the problems it could solve, and what is known so far about how well it works.