A few months ago we started naming a ‘Practice of the Month’ in our newsletter to highlight our most engaged and creative Chain SMS users. Our July POTM is North Street Medical Care, who’ve been creative accuRx users since they installed last October. Daljit Sura, GP Partner and IT lead at North Street, is always eager to share the benefits of Chain SMS through his various networks. He also led the initiative to get all roles using Chain in his practice. We recently caught up with Daljit, who shared the creative ways he’s used Chain and how to on board non-techy users.
Daljit presenting the benefits of Chain SMS to an EMIS user group meeting
What prompted you to start using Chain?
The first thing we started using it for was pathology results feedback. This would save unnecessary follow-up appointment use and speed up communications between clinicians and their patients. We developed a safe protocol and consent procedure to make sure patients were happy with the doctor communicating those results or actions needed over SMS. Particularly if there were confidential or detailed messages regarding test results, or something else quite sensitive.
What’s another creative way you’ve used Chain?
We trained our reception team to use Chain SMS to actively signpost patients for telephone queries and appointment requests. There was some initial anxiety about giving medical advice when they’re not trained to do so. So we held a teaching session on how to actively signpost safely to mental health services, pharmacy, dentists etc. The patient could still call the practice if they had any questions or book an appointment if they needed further support. We also created our own tailored templates and keep them up to date with local services and phone numbers.
How has Chain helped with QOF?
Chain SMS has made a huge impact in areas such as smoking cessation and mental health initiatives. We hit the 96% full target for last year in February, well before the March deadline. It also really helped reach our targets for recall messaging, including flu invites. It’s been very helpful for clinicians to individually target patients for QOF targets, admin staff to recall and contact specific groups of patients on a more specific basis, including safeguarding and minor surgery.
How does your practice manage consent?
We make it clear in the patient record that a patient has given explicit consent. Our automated MCQ protocol prompts clinicians to add READ codes for general SMS messaging as well as more sensitive pathology results messaging. This then automatically creates a concept based high priority warning in the floating EMIS QOF box, which makes it clear to any staff member entering a patient record, that the patient is happy to receive information by SMS. This is something we have shared in the accuRx online community forum, alongside our SMS protocols.
How have you helped a non-techy user use Chain?
When we first rolled out Chains SMS we held a group teaching session for all our clinicians at our Friday lunchtime meeting. We then held a similar targeted teaching session for all our receptionists. I could judge from these sessions, which people would need more support and which ones would be flying immediately. We allowed individuals that needed support to test sending SMS with dummy patients and brainstorming what scenarios they felt Chain would be useful in, and provided them with examples during the teaching on scenarios where I had found it useful. Written protocols and case scenarios were also felt to be helpful support the teaching session. There were some individuals who were reluctant at first, who have grown to absolutely love it. It’s so simple to use and well integrated with the EMIS system!
Do you have any tips for new practices just starting to roll out Chain?
I would start by having a good, robust written protocol and encourage the entire team to use it. If you have dummy patients to practice with, install it quickly across the practice and encourage everyone to use it immediately, the uptake is much better. I also created training videos of our teaching sessions and made them available from our practice YouTube channel for staff to refer back to if needed.
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.