Collaborating online: shared working and back-office efficiencies

Last week’s Autumn Statement brought the economy into sharp focus, and although the Chancellor had a few giveaways it’s clear that austerity continues.

So with this background, coupled with the demands of the newly published local STPs, it’s understandable that many practices are looking at ways to save costs.

One route to achieve this is through digital collaboration; teaming up across local practices will bring savings. But there are more benefits than just cost cutting to be achieved. Having a joined up approach across local practices also means:

  • There’s no duplication of effort, so time is saved
  • Patients in the same geographical area are given a consistent message
  • Administrative functions are shared.

But can digital collaboration work – quite literally – in practice?

Can your surgery have a website which is individual to your needs but, at the same time, tie into shared services across your group?

The answer, quite simply, is ‘yes’ and there are different ways of achieving this.

One option is having a shared website. In this scenario, all practices in a locality appear to have their own website, with their own information – such as contact details, opening times and staff profiles. But under the bonnet – which patients and the public don’t see – is actually one website.

The advantage is that much of the common information can be easily shared. Take for example practice policies. Instead of each practice having its own set there is one common set: much less effort to maintain, and it also ensures a common standard for all patients. The same can apply to information on referrals, walk-in centres and a host of other signposting and information issues. So there is less effort for everyone and more consistency across the locality.

If you have a more advanced site, such as FootFall, there are also other opportunities to collaborate. Requests from patients for certain services can be routed to one person to deal with. For these sites, medical reports can be directed to one location taking away the burden from other health professionals within the group and leaving them more time to care. Similarly, the system can support shared service, such as a physiotherapist or community pharmacist, by routing requests directly to the service provider.

In short, digital collaboration is a practical and effective way to meet the needs of your STP and also the constraints within which the health sector is operating.

To talk to us about digital collaboration, please contact the team here at Silicon Practice.