Improving efficiencies and safeguarding for dermatology service in Shropshire

Over 50 staff at St Michael’s Clinic Ltd in Shrewsbury have been using EMIS Web to save time and provide safer, more efficient care to their patients.

Because EMIS Web supports individual services and clinics and can be adapted to suit different organisations and ways of working, it was ideal for the team at St Michael’s. They handle both NHS and private contracts, so having an NHS compliant system that worked for their private services too was vital.

The clinic receives referrals from across Shropshire, Telford and North Powys for all types of skin problems. It was therefore crucial that the team had access to a system that helped them effectively manage their workflow and save time while still providing safe and effective care. They needed a system that allowed them to identify which of their patients and contracts were private and which ones came from different commissioners in the NHS. Collecting this information would mean they could correctly file, manage and bill each contract.

Saving time and money by simplifying tasks

Using EMIS Web, the team have been able to save both time and money by simplifying tasks like billing and lab reporting. With EMIS Web, these tasks can be done electronically, cutting back on paper wastage and printing costs while also saving time. “It used to take a long time to accurately compile the activity for each commissioner and do the billing every month. Now it’s much easier, so it’s saved a lot of management time,” explains Paul Haycox, business manager at St Michael’s Clinic Ltd.

Jamie Darlington, the clinic’s IT manager, has noted the difference receiving electronic reports and results has made. He explained, “Before it would take a lot of scanning and stacks of paper. Now it’s all done electronically which is much more efficient and saves us a huge amount of time.”

Effectively managing workflows for a better patient experience

Being able to digitally manage the flow of patients through the clinic from referral to discharge with EMIS Web’s Patient Admin module has made a considerable difference to the efficiency of the clinic. EMIS Web makes it easier to manage episodes of care, providing the team with the ability to manage multiple referrals for the same patient. Paul Haycox told us, “We’ve used the system to identify where people are in our patient pathway so that now as soon as a referral comes in, the first thing that happens is that they’ll be registered and then electronically triaged to the consultant.   This speeds up the triage system and ensures no potential loss of paper.  It’s also easier to audit.” The team can also use the system to identify what stage of treatment patients are at to effectively manage the patient journey.

“We use Patient Admin as a waiting list system that allows us to manage and see exactly where a patient episode is in its progression. This is always a better approach than using standalone spreadsheets as it’s integrated within the patient administration system.”

Jamie Darlington, IT manager, St Michael’s Clinic Ltd, Shrewsbury

Better access to patient information for safer and more joined-up care

The team have been able to take over some of the admin workload from a practice who sub-contract them. With the correct sharing agreements in place, EMIS Web has supported better data sharing between the two organisations. As a result, they’re able to provide patients with a smoother care journey from referral to appointment to consultation. Now, doctors at every stage of the patient journey can access the relevant patient information and history they need to be able to provide accurate and safe care.

“The information the doctors need is available in one click.”

Paul Haycox, business manager, St Michael’s Clinic Ltd, Shrewsbury

Customising the system for richer data collection

The team have customised EMIS Web to suit their way of working and improve the quality of their data collection. Jamie told us, “We’ve made custom protocols and templates that pop up at various triggers to help assist with workflow and aid the collection of data that’s added.” He described a custom protocol that was set up to prompt clinicians to choose the next step for their patients to move them through the patient journey faster.

Improving patient safety with better reporting capabilities

Because EMIS Web creates a full audit trail, the team have improved patient safety by having a view of what actions have been taken, who they were taken by, when and where. With the Search and Reports module, the team have been able to not only view the journey of individual patients, but track multiple patient journeys in one search. This has helped them identify any bottlenecks and areas for improvement. “It’s a great way of controlling where people are in the system,” says Paul.

“It has a very powerful reporting system and that’s one of the things that we’ve found very beneficial.”

Paul Haycox, business manager, St Michael’s Clinic Ltd, Shrewsbury

The extensive reporting capabilities provided by EMIS Web also support the team in meeting the data quality standards required for their NHS contracts. It’s also been particularly helpful in the improvements it’s made to their safeguarding by allowing the team to monitor missed appointments and DNAs.

For example, the team can now run reports to identify children who’ve failed to attend their appointments. They can then send a letter to that child’s GP for safeguarding purposes so that the child’s wellbeing can be effectively checked and monitored.

A positive impact throughout

Introducing EMIS Web has gone a long way to saving time and making the patient journey smoother and less stressful. It’s helped to cut costs and simplify processes, which has had a positive impact on the clinic’s workflow.

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