Managing Increasing Workloads and Patient Demand

February, as the shortest month of the year, seems to bring added pressures with everyone trying to do more with even less time. So we thought it’d be useful if we shared some new website ideas and topics, all designed specifically to help manage increasing workload and patient demand.

Case Study: The Red House Group

As part of the website redesign that we recently completed for The Red House Group, we included an online Repeat Prescriptions service and an ‘Ask the Practice a Question’ facility via our secure services; both of which run alongside their existing clinical system.

Although many of The Red House Group’s patients create an online account via their clinical system so that they can request repeat prescriptions and book appointments online, many patients are commuters who don’t have time to come into the surgery to collect a password. So we’ve created an option which allows them to submit a Repeat Prescription Request Form and Ask the Practice a Question without having to login. This encourages more patients to do more online as it makes it much easier for everyone to make requests.

We asked The Red House Group’s manager Stuart Daw to explain how the system benefits both the Group and its patients.

How does the online request system benefit The Red House Group?
“It’s a key system for us – it makes everything so easy to administer. We have over 20,000 patients, so it saves an incredible amount of time for our staff. I can’t even begin to calculate how much time – it’s more a question of: ‘I can’t imagine not having it!’“

Why do patients use this service in preference to the clinical system?
“It’s so much more convenient for them, especially those who are on regular medication, which is the bulk of our ‘script workload. They tell us that they get into the habit of requesting repeat ‘scripts online; that it makes life so much easier for them than having to come in and physically hand in a request. I think it gives a sense of security.”

How have you had to change the working practices to accommodate this process?
“We try to have different channels to allow patients to easily be able to contact us. They can email us from the website as well as using the ‘Ask the Practice a Question’ form, or submitting a repeat ‘script request.

“We have four senior medical staff who regularly keep an eye on incoming queries, so they’re all seen within two hours at the most. Because the initial port-of-call is a senior staff member, the majority of queries can be dealt with and replied to immediately. Or if necessary, they can be forwarded to a GP. In essence, patients’ questions go straight to source and get dealt with within a couple of hours which is so much more time-effective than phoning or coming in.”