Fisher Medical Centre
eConsult Case Study
- Patient List size: 14,100
- Launched: 13th May 2019
- Model: Routine Clinic
Case Study Key messages:
- Perform training as one team, clinical and non-clinical team together, allowing processes to be developed and questions / challenges to be made in an open forum. This creates a real buy in and ownership of the implementation of the new eConsult system.
- Your Reception Team will be your biggest asset when trying to promote the use of eConsult. Naturally enthusiastic champions of eConsult will emerge who, with support, will monitor and push forward the growth in eConsult numbers for the practice.
- Monitoring progress by keeping track of some key stats before and after the implementation of eConsult will allow you to prove the positive impact eConsult is having on your practice and allow you to develop and enhance the service further – be prepared to try new ways of working and constantly re-evaluate!
Fisher Medical Centre made the decision to adopt eConsult as it seemed like the perfect portal to be able to offer patients a convenient and progressive way to access healthcare services around the clock. In addition, patients had already been telling us that they wished to be able to access and communicate with their GP online via the Friends & Family test responses that we had received over the previous 12 months.
The Amazon culture which is developing in society means that patients expectations and desire of accessing all the required services for their lifestyle online has become the accepted and preferred normality. eConsult provides a mechanism to meet this expectation and overcome any barriers patients may perceive such as waiting on the phone, inconvenient practice opening hours for working people and having to come down to the practice in person etc.
Our patient cohort live across semi-rural North Yorkshire, with a high population of elderly complex patients but also a large number of patients who commute to nearby cities such as Leeds and Manchester. As our patients were already used to accessing our telephone triage service and were asking us how they could do more online, we knew there was likely to be a good uptake for the eConsult service.
I got an appointment the next day… the GP I saw was excellent, reassured me that yes, it was very appropriate to see a doctor about the problem, examined me thoroughly, asked lots of questions, gave me advice and the problem has improved a lot since I’ve been following it. An excellent service.Patient
The implementation of eConsult was really simple, don’t be frightened to take the plunge! We started with a soft launch for 4 weeks, by only promoting the service with the pop-up banner on our website, to allow our processes to be fully tested and the team to adapt to the new way of working. The training provided is very accessible and bite size in style, which allowed the team to focus on the key information needed whether you were clinical or non-clinical.
Training was undertaken as a group, so that everyone had the opportunity digest the information and discuss any questions or make suggestions as a team. The support and advice given by eConsult in providing a tailored marketing and implementation timeline to follow which included different tried and tested approaches to promoting the service and how to phrase key communications to patients was incredibly useful.
Our Reception Team relished having another service or option to offer to patients, especially when appointments are in short supply. The diversion of patient demand to another channel that eConsult has provided has helped us reduce the high volume of calls at 8am and manage our demand in a different, more efficient way. The enthusiasm from our front facing team when recommending and promoting the service has been key to the great start and uptake we have had with eConsult, along with targeted text campaigns and highlighting the service patients via our telephone welcome message.
eConsult allows patients to think about what it is they want from the doctor or surgery. As a clinician, eConsult allows me to read about it in my own time so that I too can be prepared. It makes the process so much more efficient.GP
We find that patients provide more detailed responses and are willing to voice concerns when using eConsult as they have more time to consider their answers. They are also reassured that they will receive a reply as soon as possible and always before the end of the next working day. The introduction of Chronic Disease reviews onto the eConsult platform will have a massive positive impact on our standard of patient care and will enable us to more easily provide continuity of care and also prioritise those patients that require a more complex health review, while enabling those who don’t need to be seen face to face to have a safe, swift and efficient service.
Feedback from our patients has been fantastic! One patient, whose first language is not English, really valued being able to communicate in writing as it made asking for help and advice much easier and less stressful. Another even wrote to the local paper to highlight the positive experience they had had with eConsult at the practice, and how it had led to an expedited referral and reassurance about their condition.
It is a very efficient method of contacting the practice as you can give plenty of information in advance and you do not have to remember what information you need to tell the doctor (about your symptoms etc.).Patient
eConsult provides a straightforward and simple approach which allows us to decide how we want to build the new channel into our workflow. What works for us now may not work for us in the future, at which point we’ll change how eConsult fits into any new processes we implement. As our patient list grows and as we work more closely within our cluster of practices, it is likely that we will start to explore the total triage eConsult model and move to working in a hub model, and eConsult allows us the flexibility to do this.
To help us analyse the benefits provided by eConsult, we have created clinical system templates and reports to capture eConsult data and record the outcome for patients. The templates are routinely used by both the clinical and non-clinical team and are embedded into the eConsult process and protocol adopted by the practice. The template even includes a text reminder function. Using specially designed eConsult templates has really maximised our efficiency and provided a uniform and equal level of service to our patients.
Although it is early days for us in utilising and developing our eConsult service, we have seen a 90% increase (approximately 110 eConsult received per week) in usage by patients from May to October 2019. We really see the potential for eConsult to develop and grow alongside our current patient channels, to help us continue to meet the needs and demands of our patients in the short and the longer term.