Online Consultations with your GP in Norfolk and Waveney
An interview with Strawberry Hill Medical Centre
Ali, an administrator at Strawberry Hill Medical Centre is responsible for looking after patient requests that come via the FootFall dashboard, which can number anything from a handful a day or 20 to 30 that arrive overnight. “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. The request is either dealt with or referred onwards to a clinician”.
“The doctors say they can process three or four FootFall enquiries in the time it would take them to see a patient, so as well as channelling enquiries away from doctors when possible, those queries that they need to deal with can be dealt with by a clinician quickly.
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!”
Since introducing FootFall in February 2016 they have seen a significant shift in patient behaviour, with over 30% of their patients regularly accessing their FootFall site each month.
Gary Hughes, Business Manager at Waterfield Practice said: “Patients love the new online way of doing things and have quickly come on board with this way of contacting us online. Within the first few weeks of launch we were receiving a significant number of requests online.”
Chapel Row Surgery
Dr Jimmy Lennox GP Chapel Row Surgery
“The triage element within FootFall has led to increased practice efficiency. It has helped clinicians to plan their day and deal with less urgent questions from patients online rather than seeing the patient or speaking to them on the phone.” “In all areas of the practice it gives more time to answer patient requests and to do so at a time that is convenient for the practice rather than ‘on demand'”. “It gives the practice a tool with the potential to re-distribute workload away from appointments and busy surgery times.”