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June 29, 2023

Getting more out of Accurx: three big Accurx use cases with GP superuser Dr Osman Bhatti

If your practice uses Accurx but haven’t yet ventured beyond SMS messaging, it’s worth remembering there’s a whole world of Accurx features out there. But where to start? To help answer that question, we spoke to Dr Osman Bhatti – Accurx superuser, Clinical IT Lead (CCIO) for North East London and GP at St Andrews Health Centre.

Below, Dr Bhatti shares three of the core workflows where Accurx has brought value to his practice: (1) booking appointments, (2) managing patient inbound and (3) contacting other health and care professionals.

1. How do you use Accurx to book appointments?

Today, we often get appointments booked using a Self-Book link. We send these links to patients so they can self-book their own appointments, with these automatically pulling through to our clinical system. All we have to do is say “yep, you need an appointment or a telephone call”. Then the patient will get a text and can then go through the times and dates that we've made available in our system and pick whichever slot they want.

It’s a really good development. It means that as a triage clinician, you've just got one inbox to look at. Previously, patients were given an appointment slot but couldn't do it. They either didn't turn up or they called up the practice and said they wanted to change it. There was a lot of back and forth on the phone, and that took a lot of time. It was frustrating on both sides. But Self-Book has taken the pressure off, given patients more choice and freed up time for our team.

Find out how Self-Book can save a PCN £105,000 over five years here

2. How do you use Accurx to manage patient inbound?

We use Patient Triage, and this has helped us to change the way that we work from the ground up. We used to have a process of having telephones, face-to-face and online consultations all as channels for patient inbound. But it didn’t work.

Now, all patient requests come in via the online triage form [Patient Triage] into the practice inbox. Each one is generated either by the patient or by reception if a member of staff goes through the triage form with them. Reception then look at the request and resolve the query if they’re able to. For example, a patient may just need some paperwork completed or something chased up.

If the request needs to go to our pharmacy team for a medication query, they'll just put it in the inbox for the pharmacist. If it's a long term condition request or an immunisation vaccination for a child, they'll put it in with one of the clinics – usually with one of the nurses.

We’ve completely recreated the way that we consult, whether we treat patients on the phone, face-to-face or via an online consultation. From the patient's perspective, things aren't very different. But from our perspective, all demand now gets funnelled into one inbox which lets us triage from just one list. It's revolutionary. But it did require a lot of change management to occur. Sitting down together and taking time to make the change made the difference. There are always gonna be hesitations but I think the key thing is to do it in comfortable bites. Go at the speed of the slowest person in the practice to make the change.

I’d also say not to just throw online consultations on top of what you're doing already as it's not going to work. I think of it like having an overflowing bathtub and installing an extra tap in there – it's just going to cause chaos. 

Patient Triage gives patients a simple, quick way to contact their GP practice

3. How do you use Accurx to contact other health and care professionals?

We use Accurx’s email functionality Accumail and that's been revolutionary. It has been really useful in contacting local pharmacies, our district nursing team, physio, the podiatry team, social services or hospital consultants.

Emailing from our clinical system EMIS was previously a challenge because we have to have software like Outlook loaded on and that had to be configured and we didn't use Outlook. Accumail offers a quick way to communicate in this way. The beauty is that messages come into an inbox that isn't necessarily personal. It can be grouped so that if anyone's away then somebody else can pick it up. It's those little things that make a big difference. 

Accumail in the Accurx toolbar

Get in touch with us today at up find out how you can use Accurx for appointment booking, managing inbound and communicating with others across the system.