Conducting chronic disease reviews via email with EMIS partner PatientChase

Alka Sethi, Practice Manager at Park Road Surgery, Surrey talks through her experience using PatientChase.

In the new world we're in, we are facing new ways of managing QOF. As with all practices, we have to adapt to new ways of working, so we’ve modified the order in which we contact QOF patients: Email > Telephone > Face to Face. Naturally, we have to also be mindful of the patient’s ability to manage technology and go down the hierarchy accordingly based on this flow.

So we’ve started to use PatientChase’s @nhs.net built in functionality to email patients where we can. Using this method we’re sending condition specific questionnaires for our patients to complete which the patient can then return via email. At the very least this means some or all of their reviews are being conducted remotely and easily.

The software has always personalised the letters to patients based on the condition/s the patient has and also for each outstanding target, so we’ve found it easy to adapt this to emails. In essence we’re contacting the patient the fewest times necessary (even if they are a co-morbidity patient), supplying them with condition/s specific information and web links and collecting information from them by reply (such as blood pressure and peak flow readings).

The idea is that one email goes out to the patient with all their relevant conditions, questions and information listed and their reply delegated accordingly within the surgery.

This is an example of how PatientChase generates personalised emails to patients with entries specific to the conditions they have. Notice it mentions blood pressure readings and advice as the patient has hypertension and also refers to asthma forms as they have asthma.

Workflow and Outlook

With all this information coming into the surgery we developed a workflow to help delegate and reply to emails accordingly.

Outlook is perfect for storing replies from patients and delegating emails to staff members. We created folders depending on how we manage staff in our surgery, each folder represented a worklist for the staff to work on.

Modifying the PatientChase email template

We created just one email per patient by merging together items which shared similarities across clinical domains but at the same time added text which we wanted to know about based on the patient’s conditions. For example text around MRC for COPD and Asthma Control and Action Plan should only be included in the email for patients who have these conditions. This is where we found PatientChase exceled. Some minor modifications to merge fields in the email template meant the algorithms of PatientChase populated each email with specific questions and information.

Actioning replies

The clinician actions the email from the patient and has a conversation with them about their condition explaining via for example web links to show them inhaler techniques or how to take their blood pressure properly. Once the clinician is happy with the review, they can record this in EMIS themselves via EMIS Templates or move the message to the ForCoding folder to be actioned by admin.

Its early days, but the data we’re collecting from patients thus far has been excellent. While it is true that QOF patients tend to be more elderly, but you’d be surprised how many tech savvy ones are out there!

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