Background

Situated within the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Langport Surgery, serves the needs of 13,300 patients across a large rural catchment area. With a slightly higher proportion of patients over the age of 65 than the national average, it also provides services to 125 patients in nursing and residential care homes.

Challenges

Langport Surgery accelerated its move to a remote total triage model of care to minimise footfall and ensure a high volume of demand could be dealt with efficiently and effectively. To meet Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines, the surgery needed to minimise the number of face-to-face consultations to keep patients and staff safe and reduce the risk of infection. Flexibility was another important factor as the solution needed to support patients and GPs remotely, including during self-isolation. Along with the challenges of the pandemic, there were other pre-existing pressures to manage.

With a growing team of clinical and support staff, triaging patients remotely to ensure they were directed to the most appropriate person in the best way, was paramount.

Solution

To facilitate the transformation of clinical service delivery, Langport Surgery had already altered the way that patients access its services through using a mix of telephone and online consultations.  As a vital operational priority, the Surgery subsequently progressed to using Engage Consult as a single point of access total triage platform.  Engage Consult was provided by the CCG before the pandemic outbreak, the Surgery undertook a phased implementation approach, gradually moving demand online with Engage Consult.

The implementation of the online consultation platform, Engage Consult, into Langport Surgery’s existing clinical systems and processes supported new ways of working.  It facilitated a complete appointment system change, utilised by staff at all levels across the practice, both clinical and admin as well as dispensary, along with a large proportion of patients.  Its ease of navigation and secure functionality means that it is used by a diverse age range of patients.

The Result

All patients are now triaged using Engage Consult, either by phone or online providing Langport Surgery with full control of its appointment system. This improved efficiency, patient access and patient satisfaction and has also facilitated a large shift in workload.

Convenience and time-savings are the overriding benefits for patients who now send requests via Engage Consult, safely and securely.  It eliminates the need to phone or walk into the surgery, and instead, is a simple and fast process for patients.

Engage Consult is constantly evolving and as a Partner Practice, Langport Surgery is helping to shape innovative new features which are key to the platform’s future development. It is actively involved in prototyping product updates to support the delivery of an enhanced service to patients, and to help other GP practices integrate Engage Consult into their systems and processes in the best possible way.

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