Hedge End Medical Centre

eConsult Case Study

Key stats

  • Patient List size: 14,300
  • Launched: 9th October 2015
  • Model: Routine clinic

Key messages:

  • eConsult has helped us to better manage our ‘on the day’ or acute care demand, ensuring the right patients get the right appointments
  • The structured nature of the eConsult means we know what patients expect to achieve from their consultation, have asked all the questions we would usually ask, and have important information highlighted for us
  • We’re now saving the equivalent of 72 appointment slots per week – four times what we had thought we could save when we started
Hedge End Medical Centre - eConsult Case study

Biggest single benefit of eConsult: We have seen improved direct triage to the most appropriate care setting, and increased productivity of our GPs, with an estimated saving of over £65,000 a year.

Hedge End Medical Centre has got the same challenges as any other GP practice with increased pressure and tight budgets. Trying to manage our ‘on the day’ demand better was a challenge and we felt we needed to adopt a technology solution to help us. Now, with eConsult, we can make sure the right people get the right appointments. 

The questions asked via eConsult are the same ones our clinicians would ask if they were talking to them face to face. The structured format of eConsult allows us to quickly understand what the problem is and what they expect from us. That way we can have a much more efficient consultation if we speak to them. 

“Before, we spent a lot of our time seeing patients who didn’t really need to be seen. With eConsult we can make sure that the people who need to see a clinician do so in a timely way.”

GP

From a practice perspective, implementation was easy. We put the banner on the website so our patients could find it easily and we decided how to process the eConsults once they arrive. Our admin team take care of anything purely administrative, and we either ring back or see patients within the next working day, although that might not work for everyone.

“I think the practice has got better and is using technology in an excellent way. It’s the way forward. I wouldn’t think twice about using it.”

Patient

Having a GP who is really engaged and sees the value that eConsult can deliver in saved clinician time is key. I wanted to convince my colleagues that this wasn’t going to add to their workload, but would reduce it by making demand more manageable. It was a different way of working for our receptionists, so we provided them with scripts to inform patients about the service.

Our aim was to save the same appointments as a salaried GP per week, about 18. Now, we’re saving about four times what the initial investment was, so for us it’s paid back in spades. We can also help patients to manage themselves, and encourage access to self-help advice if they don’t need to see us.

"The speed at which my request was handled was impeccable and has ensured my symptoms have improved instead of progressing into something more serious. I also feel that by writing down a problem I feel I am more likely to get the whole picture across better than... a face to face consultation."

Patient, Sidcup Medical Centre, Bexley

"The speed at which my request was handled was impeccable and has ensured my symptoms have improved instead of progressing into something more serious. I also feel that by writing down a problem I feel I am more likely to get the whole picture across better than... a face to face consultation."

Patient, Sidcup Medical Centre, Bexley

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