A set of simple and free solutions can help NHS organisations tackle the pressure of a mounting backlog, by giving patients and clinicians the information they need and the tools to communicate quickly.
A recent data analysis of the NHS backlog published by the British Medical Association bears a grim but unsurprising message: the effects of the pandemic include backlogs and waiting lists that will continue to challenge the healthcare system well beyond the global outbreak of Covid 19.
With record high waiting times for patients needing elective care, emergency care and consultant-led assessments for suspected cancer, the NHS is committing to transform the model of care with technologies that help healthcare staff reduce paperwork and provide support and information to patients more easily, among other strategies.
In outpatient care, many clinicians and medical secretaries spend significant time and effort on collecting or sharing information to ensure clinics run smoothly. From contacting patients before appointments with reminders or information, to reviewing the notes and letters available about a patient – even requesting further information from the GP or another team – a slow or ineffective communication system can have significant knock-on effects on waiting times.
Shrinking the backlog, one outpatient clinic at a time
The accuRx Web platform includes everything an individual or team needs to simplify the organisation around outpatient care – from communicating with a patient about their upcoming appointments via text to getting an instant view of any patient’s GP record summary in accuRx, or setting up a simple patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) pathway.
In 2021, accuRx facilitated over 105 million messages to patients. At Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Trust, one medical secretary said, “There’s always new systems but accuRx is really user friendly and straightforward to use and makes my life much easier” – noting that using patient messages in accuRx was 10 times faster than calling patients on the phone, freeing up 3.5 hours per week for the team.
Simple patient communication also helps clinics run more smoothly with fewer DNAs (patients who did not attend) due to reminder messages and quicker ways to cancel appointments, allowing the team to fill cancelled slots. One medical secretary in Essex Partnership University Trust estimated a 20% reduction in their DNA rates since they started using accuRx to message patients.
“There’s always new systems but accuRx is really user friendly and straightforward to use and makes my life much easier”
Manage patients in lists shared with your team
You can create a Patient List and share it with clinicians or administrators on your team in accuRx Web. From your patient list, you can quickly find and communicate with your patients in just 3 clicks.
Make effective decisions with instant record summaries
For healthcare professionals working in hospitals or the community, access to crucial patient information in the GP record can be slow, unreliable or end up in a game of phone tennis depending on the location of the clinician and GP surgery. A survey by accuRx found that most GP practices estimate spending more than 10 hours per week responding to requests with information that could be found in their patient records.
With Record View, you can view a sleek summary of any patient’s GP record instantly within accuRx, with permission directly from your patients at the point of care. Send the request to your patient’s phone while they are in the waiting room or in the appointment with you, and retrieve the permission code verbally from them to unlock your view of their current record, including medications, investigations (e.g. imaging results, peak flows, recent pathology results), allergies and more in less than a minute.
ADHD and Autism Specialist Nurse Ian Unitt at Black Country Mental Health Trust said, “Previously, when I needed information such as an updated ECG test result, I’d have to contact the GP and often waste time waiting. Having it immediately accessible through Record View saves us and our patients time.”
Communicate with patients pre- or post-appointment
Patients attending out-patient appointments are often asked to co-ordinate and retain lots of information before, during or an appointment. For some patients, having access to this information in an accessible way; on their phone, changes how they interact and engage with healthcare teams.
Ensure patients always stay in the loop about their care by sending one-way messages to your patients’ phones with appointment reminders or information, attaching NHS advice, digital leaflets or pre-appointment instructions. You can also request patient responses including text or photo messages to an individual or shared team inbox, where you can coordinate follow-up actions with your team.
One medical secretary in Essex Partnership University Trust estimated a 20% reduction in their DNA rates since they started using accuRx to message patients.
Make the most of your time with remote appointments
With virtual waiting rooms you can use your time effectively. A simple overview shows upcoming remote appointments indicating which patients have tested their connection and who has already joined. Message a patient who is late and join the patient who is already waiting, all from one screen.
Managing outpatients with accuRx: Learn more about the solutions we offer
Try accuRx Web: Sign up for free with NHS single sign-on
Get in touch: Let us know how we can support you and your team