Seasonal influenza affects populations annually, and is a key driver for winter pressure demand on the NHS and a leading cause of excess deaths every winter. This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic still having a profound impact on public health, a wider vaccination plan is needed to protect those at risk of the flu.
To support this the Government has announced an expansion of the national influenza immunisation programme for 2020–2021 to prevent the wide-spread co-circulation of winter flu and COVID-19.
There are many considerations when it comes to successfully managing the flu season at this challenging time, and each locality across the country will decide the best way to deliver their programme. Below you’ll find information on how EMIS and our partners are helping support you this flu season.
For all flu resources via EMIS Now, head to our dedicated page:
EMIS Now flu season overview 2020
EMIS Live Series Events
To enable EMIS to further support our customers we have set up an EMIS Live Series event, which will walk through some of the solutions discussed on this feature. If you were unable to attend, catch up on the full webinar recording here.
Drop in clinics
We’re also hosting regular drop in support clinics, where customers can speak directly to one of our expert training team around their flu season queries. Head to the Community homepage on EMIS Now to find out more and register for a drop in session.
Identifying and managing extended patient cohorts for vaccinations
This year, the list of those eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS has been expanded - further details can be found here.
We’ve put together an animation to help explain this year’s eligible groups to patients. Practices can head to the bottom of this EMIS Now page to download this animation for free, and use as they wish on their own practice websites and in surgeries, to help educate patients and manage demand.
Don’t forget there is also a handy clinically authored eligibility checker for patients to use available via Patient Access here.
Help to manage the influx to call volumes this flu season with EMIS Elite partner X-On. Their Surgery Connect telephony solution enables practices to smoothly and efficiently handle telephone traffic.
For practices offering in-house vaccination, Online Consult has a new flu appointment topic which is now live for practices to look at and make live at their site if they wish. In addition to extensive patient information about flu and flu vaccination, it includes a flu appointment request form. This includes confirmation of eligibility, consent, COVID-19 symptoms, contraindications, preference for arm of administration and dates the patient is unavailable.
EMIS is also working with NHS Digital to support the running of the NHS Population Vaccination Management programme managed by NHS England & NHS Improvement. As part of the programme EMIS and other suppliers are providing data relating to the expanded cohort identification.
Running the clinic during COVID-19
Whether your locality wants to run a stand up clinical service, or the local pharmacy is supporting with additional services, PreConsult from Outcomes4Health can help. You can watch an EMIS Live Series webinar on this here, or check out the handy explanatory animation below.
EMIS Web already has a range of features to help run an efficient and safe clinic.
"EMIS Web offers great tools to facilitate the delivery of the influenza vaccination programme. Being able to generate clinics and appointments for the flu vaccine which are visible and bookable by patients through Patient Access significantly reduces the administrative call burden. The library searches and alert protocols provided by EMIS help identify the specific cohorts detailed in NHS England guidance to ensure the right patients are getting the right vaccine. Another fantastic resource is the guide and ability to create protocols to speed up and standardise the data capture at the point of vaccination, automatically entering the appropriate codes, injection site, batch number and expiry date of the vaccination given, as well as generating the prescription. This not only saves time but it can reduce significantly the human error involved."
Dr Ian Wood, EMIS clinical director & GP
Using our elite partner Docmail for your patient communications, you’re able to implement barcodes into your messaging. This method is being adopted throughout the UK for the management of flu clinic attendance, as it acts as a tool to track and trace patient participation that can then be inputted back into the patient record. Docmail is a simple pay as you go service providing practices with an effective alternative to printing and posting their patient communications all in just a few simple steps, saving staff time and money.
Another way to manage COVID safe clinics this flu season is through our elite partner Mjog. During flu season 2019 Mjog delivered over 15 million flu campaign messages as well as 35 million appointment reminders. MJog have produced a video guide to help you run an effective flu campaign by using their barcode feature. The video guide also comes with a full Flu Campaign guide to download if you need extra assistance.
Wherever the patient receives their vaccine, it is vital that it is recorded centrally. EMIS is working with NHS Digital to support the running of the flu vaccination programme managed by NHS England & NHS Improvement. As part of the programme EMIS and other suppliers provide data relating to vaccination uptake (received/refused) and the administration of flu vaccinations across a variety of settings. The data will be collected automatically and processed centrally by the Data Processing Service.
Managing the vulnerable and ongoing management
EMIS elite partner Arc Health improves the quality of care throughout the flu and winter season with remote examinations. During such a critical time when infection-control is essential among some of the most vulnerable patient groups, Arc Health gives GPs the power to remotely examine care home patients and conduct virtual ward rounds.
Unique devices aid clinicians to undertake contactless examinations, including: auscultate heart and lungs, ENT (ear nose and throat) examinations of common complaints, helping to reduce non-urgent care home visits; in fact, 94% of Arc consultations did not need a follow up face-to-face examination.
Arc Health helps you to:
- Safely manage respiratory and cardiovascular disease
- Prescribe with confidence and avoid misdiagnosis
- Reduce transmission of Covid-19 in care homes
- Prevent increased home visits with better remote care