Reducing pressure and improving patients experience using EMIS Web for extended access

Primary Care Doncaster (PCD) have been using EMIS Web for extended access to allow their GPs and other clinicians to offer patients the services they need when and where they need them

With the pressure on general practice continuing to increase as a result of a growing elderly population, PCD needed a system that allowed them to meet patient requirements and reduce the pressure on general practice in the area.

The team were aware that to meet the needs of the vast patient population in Doncaster, they needed all 40 practices to work together, to best share practice and pool resources. By working together in this way, practices in PCD are better equipped to tackle health inequalities and the prevention agenda while reducing pressure on their teams.

A better patient experience

PCD uses a mixed economy of GP systems, with approximately 40% of their practices using EMIS Web. Remote consultations allows them to provide a smoother patient journey through their extended access services, which they run from five hubs across Doncaster. It also means that the relevant clinicians in any hub can access the patient records they need to deliver accurate and personalised care whether the patient is registered to that specific practice or not. And with the inbuilt safeguarding processes the team know that only the clinicians who need to access a patient’s information will be able to, preventing inappropriate or unnecessary access.

“We wanted to be able to offer additional GP practice capacity, so we purchased remote consultations for EMIS Web as it allowed us to build our own clinics and easily share them with other EMIS Web practices in the area.”

Kayleigh Wastnage, Business Development Manager, Primary Care Doncaster Limited

Because the services can be booked at any of the hubs, depending on the time and place most convenient for the patient, patients know they’ll get the appointment they need, when they need it.

The four elements of PCD extended access services

PCD offer four different elements of their extended access services to ensure they meet the needs of all patients.

  • Saturday morning appointments – routine appointments at any of the hubs, offered as an alternative to mid-week appointments for patients who struggle to attend during the week.
  • First 2 Physio appointments - GPs can book First 2 Physio appointments directly through their clinical system for patients with musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Inclusion health – primary care access for excluded and vulnerable groups such as the homeless, new migrants, asylum seekers and sex workers.
  • Same day additional capacity – appointments for patients with urgent clinical needs who request an appointment within 24 hours.

Reduced pressure and a shared workload

As  practices can book patients into any of the hubs for an appointment at a time and place that suits them, there’s less likely to be a bottle-neck effect caused by more patients trying to use the same service.

“Now our clinicians have access to the patient record held by the registered GP practice, maintaining one patient record. This has meant we don’t create duplicate records which makes things much simpler and safer.”

Kayleigh Wastnage, Business Development Manager, Primary Care Doncaster Limited

Clinicians working in the hubs have also found that consultations and recording their notes have become much easier as they’re not creating duplicate patient records. Using remote consultations allows clinicians across PCD to access patient information stored in both EMIS Web which can be viewed and updated in real time for better joined-up care.

Meeting national targets

The benefit  PCD has seen through the use of remote consultations has helped them to work in line with national strategies to tackle capacity and demand in primary care. Through using EMIS Web, they’re able to collate all their information from across Doncaster into one central record. They can then build services on top of this to meet the demands of the borough. Centralising their information also makes reporting on their services much easier so that they can simply and quickly assess how well their hubs are performing and make informed improvements.

A positive step forward

The overall feedback within PCD and from their patients has been positive. Clinicians are happy working Saturday morning clinics which now don’t require as much paperwork, and they’ve had some great feedback from the Inclusion Health service too. Patients are also happy with the additional access to primary care being offered.

“Patients are happy as they have a greater choice of appointments at times and locations that are convenient to them”

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