A text messaging and video call system between clinician and patient in primary care
Staunton surgery, near Portsmouth serves approximately 7,700 patients on England’s south coast. It recently experienced the benefits of using messaging apps to communicate with patients in primary care to more efficiently obtain higher engagement.
The surgery has faced issues with the communications burden caused by missed telephone appointments and cancelled clinics. Additional staff time and effort was taken up by individually contacting patients who either missed their appointment or had one cancelled. Communicating with patients by letter also caused further cost, time and effort inefficiencies within the practice.
COVID-19 has impacted the provision of face-to-face services, shifting service delivery towards online triage and consultation.
To find a solution for video consultation, to communicate with patients, to text information about appointments and to share advice and notify patients of normal test results.
Solution and impact
ChainSMS by AccuRX allows surgeries to send messages straight to patients with advice, appointments and notifications. This reduces the time taken to follow up with patients who have missed appointments, and contact those who have had appointments cancelled. Staunton GPs saw a yearly decrease in administrative costs, and over 200 hours of administrative work.
- The app can be installed on the desktops of GP practices to provide a direct line of communication with patients. It allows the practices to use text messages for appointments and to advise and notify patients of normal test results. Patients can upload photos of skin conditions from home to send to a GP as a reply to an accuRx text. Clinicians can then send a unique link to connect patients to a video consultation
- Staff highlighted a decrease in the communication burden around missed telephone appointments as staff now simply message the patient asking them to call if they still require a clinician
- Clinicians have also used the app to document and record all communication with the patient
- The app has helped increase prompt patient communication and reduced administrative costs and time
- AccuRx is an NHS Digital-approved remote consultation system
- It enables video consultations where advice and guidance is given to the patient
- It is currently centrally funded for GP practices and all NHS providers can conduct video consultations free using the system
- Personalised text messaging, including links to surveys with specific questions based on a patient’s condition
- The ability for patients to be able to reply to a message with information or photographs and these to be saved in to the patient record
- Secure video consultation facility allows clinicians to consult patients remotely in real-time and avoids unnecessary patient journey to the surgery for face-to-face appointments
- The ability of practice staff to be able to create their own messaging templates to personalise the communication with patients
- Clinicians can send a one-way text message to a patient, with a unique link to connect them to a video consultation
- Clinicians can send a message asking a patient to respond either by text or with an image
- Patients can upload photos of their skin condition, and send them to the GP as a reply to a text message. The images are automatically saved to the patient’s electronic medical record
Find out more
Dr Julian Bashforth, GP, Staunton Surgery
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