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Stenhouse Medical Centre in Arnold has kindly shared how they encouraged their patients to use the Notts NHS App to send an appointment request to their clinician instead of using the telephone lines. This reduced the time needed for each consultation and patients could send a request outside of opening hours which gave them more flexibility. Stenhouse also saw a reduction in telephone calls which gave the practice additional capacity to answer other incoming calls quicker and to fulfil other duties.
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Author: Connected Nottinghamshire
Reduction in telephone calls and offer quicker appointments
by offering digital routine consultations , GP practices will be ab le to treat patients remotely reducing appointment times, the number of telephone calls received and will therefore be able to treat more patients sooner.
When GP practices first open in the morning, they are often inundated with telephone calls from patients, asking to make a telephone appointment. This is often a busy time in a GP practice which can be quite stressful and resource demanding. If a telephone consultation has been booked, this will be the first opportunity for the patient to explain to the clinician the need for their appointment. Depending on the situation , patients may need a face to face appointment , which they may need to schedule by going back through the practices’ phone line .
To offer patients an alternative method to a routine telephone consultation appointment , Stenhouse MC enabled patients to use digital consultations . These provide patients the opportunity to send an appointment request to the practice as well as the ability to include : symptoms, worries, pictures to support the diagnosis and the patient ’s contact preferences. This information would not normally be available to a clinician prior to a telephone consultation, which can prolong the length of an appointment. Since the consultations were made available through PKB, 401 individual
consultations have been completed by patients, with 84 of them being sent outside of the normal practice’s opening hours.
Since offering patients the option to contact a clinician through PKB the practice has found that time is saved as dealing with an online consultation can take as little as 3 5 minutes, depending on the complexity, compared with a 10 minute standard appointment. A clinician at the practice advised “ Now I can read through the detail and just respond to the patient in PKB or ring the patient if necessary . It’s so easy to deal with consultations"
Between June 2020 to April 20 21 the practice has saved a minimum of 33 hours and 24 minutes in clinical appointment
time (based on saving 5 minutes per and 13 hours 20 minutes in administrative time (based on 2 minutes per phone call).
To arrange the digital consultations at the practice, Stenhouse MC have dedicated e consultation clinical appointments, which the administration team are able to book once a query is received. The clinician stated “ With the e consultation slots, the wait time is less for patients compare d to a routine telephone appointment”.
From utilising the routine consultations in PKB, Stenhouse MC experienced the following benefits:
|Type of benefit||Topic||Benefit|
|Time saving||At least 5 minutes saved per appointment slot by being able to read through the patient
information and action as necessary or contact the patient for additional detail.
|Stenhouse MC saw a reduction in telephone calls as all of the patients who had
completed a routine consultation digitally would have otherwise rung the practice for
|Patient time||Patients saved time by not having to ring the practice and wait in the call queue and
have found benefit in being able to send a consultation request at a time that best suits them.
|Appointments||Patients are able to get an appointment quicker through the e consultation slots
Stenhouse MC have made available to encourage patients to use the digital offering.