Anna Trela, GP IT Facilitator NEL CSU, talks about what still needs to be done to get patients online #GPonlineLondon…
Wandsworth, our diverse and vibrant borough in south west London, is passionate about providing residents with greater access to GP services. We believe providing patients with the tools to manage their health leads to better health outcomes overall.
I’m sharing our journey as a borough who is leading the way in patient registration for GP online services. We have some way to go in achieving our ideal target of 100% patient registration but have a read about our story so far.
In 2013 many of our GP practices in Wandsworth signed up to offer transactional online services for their patients, now known as GP online services. A move greatly supported by our Cliical Commissioning Group (CCG).
GP online services enable patients to go online to make and cancel appointments, view health records and order repeat prescriptions; making access to GP services easier and more convenient. This also benefits GP practices by supporting the delivery of a more efficient workflow; freeing up staff time to focus on greater patient care and experience.
Our goal from the beginning has been twofold; to increase the number of online registrations of existing patients in Wandsworth and also to ensure patients joining practices are aware of the services on offer and encouraged to use them from the outset.
What steps did we take get patients to register? Each practice was visited by a facilitator to promote service benefits, to help with processes and to deal with the nitty gritty of the clinical system set up. This happened alongside face to face workshops, webinars, and visits to Practice Managers Forums, Members Forums and Patient Participation Group Forums with guest speakers and local champions continuing this work ever since.
We increased awareness about GP online services with patients through leaflets, posters, information on practice websites and voicemail messages promoting the service.
In the second year we concentrated on getting a further increase of users and 100% system enablement to make more appointments available to book online (these include nurse, BP and phlebotomy). We also streamlined access to records, especially test results for patients with chronic conditions.
I believe our leading position for registering patients has a lot to do with the great engagement from practices. Practices were incentivised for their efforts with a Staff Fund, Locality Awards and a CCG Award for best team. Evidence of this successful is 30 out of 42 signed up for the fund again even though targets were higher.
Moving forward? We need to continue to spread the word about GP online. The ETTF and Healthy London Partnership campaign which launches in June will help push the message across London using advertising and social media but we also need more clinical engagement and support to get the message out there to everyone in the community.
I’m proud of what we have achieved so far and would like to thank all of those in Wandsworth who have worked tirelessly for the benefit of patients and practices. We still have some way to go but together we will continue our digital health journey and make the NHS more accessible for everyone.”