Using technology to improve engagement with patients in primary care

Staunton Surgery is a GP practice near Portsmouth serving approximately 7,700 patients on England’s south coast. It recently started using personalised text messaging to increase effective engagement with patients.

Situation

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.

Aspiration

Address the ineffective use of resources by digitising contact with patients, ensuring those most at risk continue to receive appropriate care during the pandemic.

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.

In addition, AccuRX feature Florey enables digital collection of quality and outcomes framework (QOF) data with responses linked to patient records and SNOMED-coded appropriately. Since the pandemic, face-to-face long term condition clinics have predominantly been delivered virtually, as was the case at Baddow village surgery in Essex. For chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) patients, Florey can be used to ask for a Medical Research Council (MRC) score or COPD Assessment Test (CAT) score.

Functionality

  • EMIS and SystmOne-accredited partner product
  • App can be installed on GP practice desktops to provide a direct line of communication between the practice and its patients
  • Once AccuRX is installed, no additional setup is required to run Florey

Capabilities

  • Personalised text messaging, including links to surveys with specific questions based on a patient’s condition
  • The ability for patients to reply to a message with information or photographs and these to be saved 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
  • Messages saved and coded on patient’s record
  • NHS.uk advice links generated
  • The ability for practice staff to create their own messaging templates to personalise communication with patients
  • Over 100 message templates and customisable messages up to 700 characters long

Scope

  • The service is designed for primary care staff to communicate remotely with patients
  • Patients can provide essential information to inform ongoing management of LTCs
  • Patients can opt out of receiving messages

Find out more

Read an interview with a GP here - Health Tech Newspaper website

Learn more from the AccuRX website

Key contact

Dr Julian Bashforth, GP, Staunton Surgery

julian.bashforth@nhs.net

AccuRx

partnerships@accurx.com