With practices already busy dealing with patient requests and the everyday workload, we are often asked how FootFall fits in. How effective is it at freeing up precious resources? This month’s story is an interview with Ali Sayers an Administrator at Strawberry Hill Medical Centre on how FootFall impacts her day.
An Interview with Strawberry Hill Medical Centre
In April last year, Strawberry Hill was born from the merger of two Practices in Newbury who moved into new premises and became Strawberry Hill Medical Centre, catering for 21,500 patients.
On moving day itself, the new practice also switched across to using a FootFall website. Ali admits doing everything in one go was daunting but successful, and the assistance provided by the FootFall website has been an invaluable addition to the new practice.
“We do not do things by halves,” said Ali. “We decided that moving across to FootFall at the same time would work, and it did. We went with a FootFall site, because Silicon Practice already provided a website for one of the practices which came into the merger, and we were impressed by what FootFall could potentially offer.”
Ali is responsible for looking after patient requests that come via FootFall, which can number anything from a handful a day or 20 to 30 that arrive overnight.
But dealing with them is a speedy and simple process, and fits easily into Ali’s workload. Ali applies the same methodology that would be applied to a phone call: it is dealt with or referred onwards.
“I check FootFall first thing in the morning and then at intervals throughout the day,” said Ali. “Processing the enquiries that come in is straightforward. Probably about 70 per cent need to be referred up to a doctor and around 30 per cent I can deal with, and this doesn’t include the requests for repeat prescriptions which are dealt with by a colleague.
“The doctors say that they can process three or four FootFall enquiries in the time it takes to see a patient, so as well as channelling enquiries away from them, those that they deal with can be done quickly.”
The enquiries that need a doctor’s attention are forwarded on by Ali, via the practice’s internal clinical system.
When patients put an enquiry through, they receive an automated reply telling them they will receive a response within a set time frame. In practice, Ali is able to deal with most enquiries within the day. Indeed, sometimes she responds within minutes.
Patients say they appreciate the convenience of the service, which they can access at any time, and also the speed of the responses.
Ali said: “Our doctors are very good at mentioning the FootFall service to patients as a way of promoting it to them. Those who are already using it are extremely positive and tell the doctors they like it.”
So does Ali have any advice for fellow professionals who are launching, or considering launching, a FootFall website?
“We really love having FootFall, as you can tell. I’d just suggest people make the most of it and remember it can evolve,” she said. “Since we introduced FootFall we’ve added on asthma review forms, alcohol screening and smoking screening. This all saves us time and the patients appreciate not having to come into the surgery unnecessarily.
“Here in Newbury, we have a centralised maternity hub, which all pregnancies are referred to. So pregnant women can refer themselves via FootFall, to be contacted by a midwife. So, when you’re pregnant, you no longer need to visit the doctor first!”