Kwesi Afful writes about his digital quest to get patients using #GPonlineLondon…
It seemed like a daunting task when as part of my role at North West London Collaboration of 8 CCGS (clinical commissioning groups); I was tasked with leading the drive to increase patient registration to GP Online Services.
With the help of Healthy London Partnership I was able to come up with an ambitious plan to help achieve this. This is my story so far.
I wanted to start ground up. My first priority; to bring all 400 practices up to speed on GP online services and to ensure they knew what they needed to do and have in place in order to promote the scheme and enable patients to start registering. To achieve this we employed some fantastic system facilitators and service ‘advocates’ who visited, encouraged and supported practices to get involved.
This was done in tandem with a public facing awareness campaign using online marketing and promotion to help us communicate with the 2.3 million residents in the area (a quarter of all Londoners).
We placed adverts on Facebook and Instagram, both chosen due to their large and diverse user base. These adverts reached 80,000 accounts each week for three months. This approach proved to be very cost effective, with us paying out only once to reach the whole of North West London. We also produced a large amount of promotional items such as pull up banners and posters to support practices in promoting GP online services. We also encouraged practices to have a ‘GP Online’ day.
We utilised Harrow’s successful patient app, ‘Health Help Now’, as an additional access point for GP online, with the hope that this would not only make it easier for residents, having all health content in one place, but that this would also encourage use with existing app users to try the new feature with ease of access.
Analytics show the app was downloaded over 4,000 times in March 2017, with GP online the second most popular area. What is really encouraging is that 12% of the 14,000 who downloaded the app are over 65 years old; showing new technology is not just for the young!
All in all, the GP online project has gone really well so far. At the end of March 2017 statistics show that 21% of residents in North West London now have an active account, with Harrow leading the way with 25% of residents registered for GP online services.
The challenge now is to keep the momentum going but my hope is that as word of the service spreads and with the added push aided by the ETTF and HLP public facing campaign this summer, we will soon see the vast majority of Londoners taking control of their health online.”