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Using Secure Messaging about the Flu Vaccine

Objectives: Reduction in telephone calls

Middleton Lodge wanted to reduce the number of telephone calls they needed to make to patients. By enabling the messaging functionality, GP practices were able to use the features as an alternative way to communicate key messages, like flu appointment reminders, reducing the number of calls they made to and received back from patients.

Situation

After identifying all high-priority patients who were eligible for a flu vaccination at Middleton Lodge and sending patients a letter to ask them to book an appointment, the practice found themselves with 394 patients who were still yet to book in for their vaccine. Having already sent a letter, the next reminder Middleton Lodge provided to patients was a phone call, to see whether patients would like a flu vaccine, which took approximately 3 minutes per patient. Middleton Lodge’s Practice Manager advised “The situation feels pressured when you can see the number of incoming calls waiting as well as all of the patients you still need to contact”

Solution

To help identify patients, who had registered for the Notts NHS App (those who had created a Patients Know Best account), in the clinical record, Middleton Lodge added a read code to the patient’s record. This made it easier for the administrative staff to recognise which patients could be contacted by sending a message in PKB, rather than a phone call. The administrative staff at the practice said, “It seemed a better way of contacting the patient, rather than multiple telephone calls/messages left.”

Middleton Lodge was able to send out flu vaccine reminders to six patients via PKB messaging, with 2 out of 3 patients responding the next day, better than the average of 1 out of 3 of patients responding the next day to letter reminders. The Practice Manager commented “One message reply was received [by us] within 11 minutes, but the others were received in the evening, out of business hours, when patients wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to contact the practice”.

The administrative staff at the practice advised “It is definitely an easier way and I would propose this as being a way forward for other patient contact requirements e.g. repeat bloods and reviews etc”.

Middleton Lodge’s practice manager stated, “It only took 1 minute and 30 seconds of our time to send a message in this way to the patient and reply once a response had been received”.

Benefits

Type of benefit
Topic
Benefit
Non cash releasing
Time saving
1 minute and 30 seconds of administrative time was saved by sending and receiving messages per patient, totalling to 6 minutes being saved for just 4 patients.
Non cash releasing
Reduction of phone calls
Middleton Lodge saw a reduction of four phone calls that would have usually been made to patients, should all patients have been available to take the phone call.
Non-quantifiable
Staff morale
With a reduction in telephone calls, staff morale may increase and provide more of a considered response as they will have more time.

Additional Benefits and Suggestions

  • Sending flu vaccination information messages and other similar messages to patients via secure messaging instead of letters cuts down on printing and postage.
  • Patient satisfaction may increase if they can contact the practice in their own time.
  • Potential improved patient recall.
  • Utilising read codes/caseloads enables easy identification of patients with a PKB record.

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