A few months ago we started naming a ‘Practice of the Month’ in our monthly newsletter to highlight our most innovative Chain SMS users. Our June POTM is Attenborough Surgery, who’ve been creative Chain users since 2017. In the early days of Chain SMS, Liz Cross, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, used the tool to get in touch with hard to reach diabetic patients (read more about how they started using Chain here). We caught up with Liz, who shared ways that Chain has helped engage patients in their care plan, how it helped with QOF, and tips for new users:
What is your practice's most unique use of Chain?
“One way I’ve used it is to contact patients who’ve had chest infections and encourage them to come in for a point of care C Reactive Protein finger prick blood test. I use Chain to explain to patients why they’re having this blood test instead of sending a leaflet. If this is being done at a local pharmacy as part of this preset, I can text exactly which pharmacy they can go to. It really helps with patient flow.
"I also used Chain two weeks ago to help promote a diabetes/carbohydrates awareness workshop with hard to reach patients from our previous QOF year. Maybe they’ve not been to appointments because it’s during the week, etc. But I can see that bloods are all deranged and they’re not coming in to get their checks. I set up a morning workshop and use chain to advertise this. I’m thinking can we do more group work at a time that it is more convenient to patients. Instead of writing letters, inboxing our secretary and using stamps, I just send them a text. Patients then signed up by calling the practice. I texted them a reminder 24 hours before the workshop. Most of these patients were working age and struggled to come in during the week, but I had a good turnout from these patients at the weekend workshop.
"We also have a mental health nurse who works specifically with us, as part of the new NHS plan. She’s used Chain a huge amount to signpost patients about local groups that are available particularly around mental health, other things about Mind, social prescribing advice, and occupational stuff. We’re also using Pathways a lot.”
What’s your favourite way to use Pathways?
“Pathways for diabetes is fantastic! It makes it so clear for these patients. They sometimes get overwhelmed in long appointments because they get so much information at once. Now I can set up texts to them to say when I’ve changed their medication, that they need to get their blood taken in two weeks, then they need to come see me--and that’s all documented in the patients notes! I just love how creative we can be with this feature.”
How has Chain helped with QOF?
"I hit my asthma QOF because I can send out the MRC questions, which helped with the last few bits of QOF.
"It also helps with recalls. We want everyone to come in for annual reviews month of their birthday. I can send these invites by text instead of text to reception, who are already busy. If GPs know there’s a QOF piece missing there’s no delay."
How does your practice manage consent?
"There is a code for ‘consent given for communication by SMS text messaging.’ We created a shortcut on the F12 key to search consent codes, then I make sure it’s the right phone number."
How have you helped a non-techy user use Chain?
"Even my least techy users of staff can use it. It’s very, very intuitive. It usually takes me one 5 minute session to roll this out. Sometimes it may take me two sessions, but very rarely."
Do you have any tips for new practices just starting to roll out Chain?
“Give it a go, just jump in there and give it a go. You’ll be sold within the first morning. We need to be embracing new technologies!”
Chain SMS is now used in more than 2,000 practices across England, Wales and Jersey and Northern Ireland. Even better, Chain takes less than two minutes to install! You can just download it to try out or you can install for everyone at your practice. You can find a guide to installing here. For more information on our new Pathways feature please click here.