Kineton & Tysoe Surgeries
“Chain SMS has freed up appointments, and it’s freed up time which I can use to develop the practice’s services.”
Kineton and Tysoe Surgeries are “extremely rural…you really couldn’t get more rural” according to Ben Evans, Assistant Practice Manager. Back in the accuRx Camden-based office we feel a world away from the beautiful, green, rolling hills of Warwickshire. However, we’re linked by a desire to reduce primary care pressures through tech, and you don’t need to be in the middle of London to take a slice of the action when you are an engaged and innovative practice. Ben is exceptionally forward-thinking and proactive, and decided to take the step to download Chain SMS to benefit staff and patients. Kineton and Tysoe’s two surgeries cover 5,200 patients and straddle the border between Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. Ben tells me about how Chain SMS has improved life for those working at the practices, and how they are rolling it out across their network of sites which serves 27,000 patients.
“Everyone’s taken to Chain SMS really quickly. The GPs absolutely love it!”
“The clinicians’ time is more productive.” Ben explains how repeat medications used to involve several steps before Chain SMS was installed: “it involved a task going to the GP to call a patient, the doctor would call, decide if a prescription needed to be issued or not, and then they would need to tell the patient to do this or that. Now we’ve changed our procedure for contacting patients - we’ve created a ‘message system’. The patient gives their details, a brief reason for the request, and off the back of that they can be issued a prescription and informed via text message, or for example told to have a blood test.” The brevity of a text message saves the practice time: “it is short, sharp communication without getting into a conversation.”
“Clinicians are not having those ‘door handle conversations’ with Chain SMS.”
“I tend to see more of the GPs since Chain SMS was installed, they come and have a cup of tea.” It is great to hear about improvements in clinicians’ quality of life. The other half of the story is the patients, and Kineton and Tysoe have had good feedback from them as well: “patients like Chain SMS, they’ve welcomed it. It has fitted in nicely with GDPR as we’ve been checking consent for text messages. One thing is guaranteed - patients will have a mobile phone. They don’t read emails as quickly as you’d expect. With Chain SMS you can send a quick text, nice and short, telling the patient information or what to do. The patient logs it thinking ‘I must remember to do that!’”
“With Chain Reception I’m not having to be everywhere at the same time telling everyone what to do!”
“Chain SMS has freed up appointments, and it’s freed up time which I can use to develop the practice’s services.” Kineton and Tysoe has been one of the practices trialling another of our products, Chain Reception, a toolbar used by staff to search for important phone numbers, services and policies. It helps receptionists to signpost patients safely and effectively to the appropriate clinician or service. “Chain Reception is a steering point, and now we have no more paper stuck to the wall with outdated information. Everyday we’re finding something else to add to the database. Across two sites we can achieve consistency.” Ben particularly liked how easy Chain Reception was to set up, “the interface is easy to use, I can edit the information in less than 30 seconds. We love it. My stress levels have gone down; everyone’s doing a consistently good job.”
“Using Chain SMS for chronic disease recalls has worked out really well!”
“We’ve ended up using Chain SMS for loads of different things. Using it for chronic disease recalls has worked out really well! We can give the patient the information they need without getting into a long conversation. There is none of the rigmarole.” The practice has found the addition of custom sender ID particularly helpful. “What’s great is that we’ve changed the name of the sender to the name of the surgery, and staff can sign off with their name. Patients then call the surgery with a specific purpose, knowing who to contact and why.”
“Chain SMS has been particularly useful when cancelling a clinic due to e.g. staff illness. We used to have trouble informing patients in the busy telephone period 8-9.30am. We struggled to get a line to dial out. Now we can send a text first thing in the morning and follow up with a phone call later in the morning when the phone lines are quieter. The patients are happy because they are aware earlier and go to work as usual etc.”
“We’ve saved nearly two hours a week just by using Chain SMS for chronic disease recalls.”
Ben explained that prior to Chain SMS the practice admin staff were spending two hours a week calling patients about chronic disease reviews. Now it is done via Chain SMS it takes them 15 minutes a week. That works out to over 11 staff days saved per year just through this simple change.
The savings extend to paper and postage as well; “we have a franking machine, which I used to put £100 on a month. I’ve only had to top it up once in the last 3-4 months since we signed up to Chain SMS, so 75% saving in costs. We should be heading towards a paper-free NHS.”
We agree, Ben! Kineton and Tysoe Surgeries have the foresight to be ahead of the curve; they’re using Chain SMS to great effect to improve their patient communication and use of resources. It is inspiring to see a practice with such energy and commitment to innovation!