Patient Online benefits the practice

“It’s a double bonus”

Street Lane Practice in Leeds has always tried to involve patients in their own health and when online access to records for patients became available the practice didn’t hesitate to launch it.

John Snowden, the Practice Manager said, “We were getting lots of requests from patients who wanted to view their records. These consultations last up to 30 minutes per patient and easily took up a few hours per week.”

The practice is a modern GP practice in north Leeds with seven GPs and over 13,000 patients. A total of 2,020 patients have registered for GP online services so far, of which 560 have received full record access. “After reviewing this new enhancement to our system, the GP partners all agreed on the benefits. By opening up health records online, patients no longer need to come to the practice but can view their records from home. It saves them time and money, and at the same time, it frees up time at the practice for other patients. It’s a double bonus.”

The Street Lane Practice decided to launch the scheme gradually, and opened up about 60 records during the first six months. “We agreed to test full records access with the group of patients who regularly asked to see their files,” John explains. “Patients were really interested to see what was in their records. There were no issues reported, although we did receive a couple of comments about understanding the code doctors wrote in and we also had the odd password request.”

To get staff on board, the GP practice organised a target training session with all practice staff, showing print screens of the system and explaining what the benefits are. John explained, “We even did a few tests with dummy patients to show how easy it was, and we also set up an online protocol, all tied up around ID checks. All practice staff were OK with it and felt it was straight-forward.”

To get patients to sign up to online services John says: “We do what we can to promote them to our patients, including posters in the waiting room, offering it to new patients upon registration, running it through our patient forum and promoting it at our flu clinic.”

“In an ideal world, we’d get everyone with internet access to use online services.”

Upcoming webinars

RCGP are working with NHS England to help and support practices to meet 2015/16 GMS/PMS regulations which requires practices to provide online services. To help practices implement and get the most from providing Patient Online services to patients, NHS England has organised a series of webinars. The webinars are open to practice staff and may also be of interest to organisations providing support to GP practices. These sessions are an opportunity to ask questions, learn from other practices and find out how to access support locally. The sessions will run until March 2016 and last 60 minutes. Click here for details.

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