Transforming general practice COVID capacity with our partners

With additional funding for primary care recently announced by NHS England, we asked our network of partners to provide some thoughts on how their solutions can assist in the transformation of primary care.

As we continue to adjust to the new normal and the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare landscape, NHS England has announced a £150m investment to support primary care (which has now been extended until September 2021). The demand on primary care continues to grow and the complex set of priorities they face continue to change. At EMIS we’re committed to enabling greater insight-led integrated health and social care, underpinned by reliable technology, with this in mind we asked our network of partners to provide some thoughts on how their solutions can assist in the transformation of primary care.

My Locum Manager (MLM) Flex

MLM Flex is a digital suppliers framework used to assist GP workforce deployment by matching sessional capacity to local demand.

As announced in the recent primary care flexible staff pools in 2020/21 guidance, significant funding has been made available to implement at-pace, including up to £120k per system to support the development and running costs of staff pools and access to a digital supplier framework to support staff deployment to shifts, available via NHSEI regions. ​

The initial focus for these digital solutions is on the deployment of sessional and flexible working GPs. However, commissioners and local systems may consider using these products to support the deployment of other roles such as clinical pharmacists, practice nurses and roles covered by the PCN Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme in the future.

MLM Flex is an interoperable, end-to-end workforce solution enabling general practices to optimise EMIS Web in order to manage a flexible, multi-skilled workforce. It builds a cohesive community of healthcare professionals; increasing clinical capacity, without paying large agency fees.​

Expected benefits of using digital suppliers include:

  • Increased CCG confidence in the management of increased primary care demand;
  • Improved service to manage demand in the system;
  • Improved health and wellbeing of staff and increasing resilience of general practice; and
  • Increased public confidence and enhanced health and wellbeing of patients resulting from the sustainability of services and improved access


SymlConnect’s Patient+ provides practices with an immediate solution to address their current backlog of screening and chronic disease reviews, while also providing an easy way to track and monitor COVID-19 reviews; post-COVID and those with Long-COVID. Questionnaires from an e-library can be sent out via email or SMS to patients to monitor COVID and other long-term conditions.

Patients complete their questionnaires on their own mobile devices in the comfort of their own homes via the secured link in their SMS or email messages. All types of data including vital signs, oximetry readings, scoring questionnaires are customised. Automated information (practice defined) is shown on the patients’ screens for advice and guidance, linked to their responses.

How it helps right now:

  • Automate collection of screening, monitoring can chronic disease reviews – saving significant time and resources
  • Two specific COVID-19 templates now available to monitoring patients
  • Send intelligently via email or SMS and update responses with automated SNOMED CT coding
  • Powerful data analysis highlights at-risk flags so that time is focussed on those that need it most.

Surgery Connect

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Programme

Implementation of PCN-wide high capacity phone contact centre solutions using Surgery Connect softphone technology, integrated with EMIS Web and SystmOne for rapid identification of patients:

  • Next day delivery possible with secure softphones deployed on HSCN network.
  • Potential for unattended booking, checking and cancel operations over the phone with confirmation via SMS.
  • Bulk notification services by SMS and voice call.  Outbound voice calls to patients can be connected directly to contact centres, practice appointments lines or automated booking services where implemented.

Support for vulnerable and shielded patients

Surgery Connect hosted telephony can identify patients through their calling number. Demographic flags can treat calls from specific patients appropriately by prioritising them within a call queue or routing calls to a specific group or resource.

Patients wishing to amend demographic data can do so as an option while dialling into the practice or arriving at the practice for a walk-in appointment with the forthcoming no-contact Patient Arrival system.

Supporting demand and remote working

Surgery Connect provides a rapidly deployed solution enabling seamless remote working through the Surgery Connect Lite package which supports phone, video and other remote consultation and administration functions.

Arc Health

You must consider the need for physical examination or other assessments' when consulting remotely - General Medical Council guidance. 60% of all GP primary care consultations require an examination and Arc health supports vulnerable patients through access to high quality contactless examinations and care. 

The Arc Health station is a clinician-led solution enabling best-in-class remote examination. Arc technology improves the clinician’s ability to make an accurate diagnosis and ensures that clinical safety levels are maintained when consulting remotely. The Arc station can enable:

  • Auscultate heart and lung sounds with a remote stethoscope
  • Perform ear, nose and throat (ENT) assessments with a remote otoscope
  • Measure observations such as temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturations
  • Offer a complete managed service including setup, comprehensive training and ongoing repairs and calibration

Evidence shows that clinicians can close 94% of all consultations remotely with Arc without the need for a follow-up face-to-face consultation. This is evident when compared to simple video consultation solutions without examination where less than 40% of presentations can be safely managed. 

Care home residents benefit from high quality care in line with the Enhanced Health for Care Homes framework:

  • Patients have timely access to care from clinicians without needing to travel
  • Clinician get best in class remote patient management and avoid visits without sacrificing quality
  • Reduced inappropriate A&E admissions, hospitalisation and prevention of risk of infection, including Covid-19

MJOG Limited

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, MJog has been trusted by over 4,000 practices to help them deliver their COVID-19 campaigns. Since the announcement of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, practices using MJog have delivered over 30million campaigns informing patients on their vaccination.

Now that we're in the pandemic vaccination phase, MJog is helping thousands of practices deliver COVID-19 appointment reminders and information campaigns. Practices can download a series of pre-built templates to send to patients, from within the MJog template library. In addition, practices can access dedicated videos and resources designed to help them use MJog to deliver the vaccination programme.

Practices can download the MJog COVID-19 Resource Pack here.  


COVID-19 Vaccinations

Riviam’s Digital Care GP Portal provides a school age immunisation eConsent, triage and clinic solution with a mobile application. These services are used across counties in the south and west of England for Flu, HPV and DTP. This solution could be adapted to work for GP Practices for school age or adult immunisations and consent. 

The eConsent component collects information from parents about the child including clinical history and consent. The mobile part allows clinicians to work with or without internet connection to run clinics and record outcomes.

This service can easily be adapted for adults and can provide a simple way of gaining consent and booking into EMIS clinics online.

Inviting patients for their vaccination could be automated through RIVIAMs integration with EMIS, with people taking a short survey for clinical triage and then booking into clinic. RIVIAM also has a workflow service and can manage clinical triage referrals.


I3 Technology: Diagnostic Tests for Chronic Disease Management

Numed Healthcare can help to make inroads into the backlog of appointments for chronic disease management with their inexpensive diagnostic device rental programme.  ECG systems, Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitors and Spirometers can be rented from as little as £35 + VAT per month, an inexpensive way of temporarily increasing diagnostic test capacity at your practice.  The minimum rental duration starts from just 3 months.  In addition, all devices are fully integrated with EMIS throug innovative software called I3 (Intelligent Integration Interface). I3 automatically enters the patient’s details from EMIS into the diagnostic test software at the start of a test, and files a PDF test report and coded results directly into the patient’s medical record at the end of the test. As a result, Numed diagnostic devices are safer, faster and easier to use.

Envisage Coda: Notifying Patients about Routine Vaccinations and Immunisations

The Envisage Waiting Room Media and Patient Call System allows you to communicate health awareness and practice information to your patients whilst waiting for their appointment, including information about vaccinations.  Face-to-face practice consultations have increased significantly over the past few months, particularly with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations. With this in mind, communicating with patients will be more important than ever over the next few months as many patients will not have visited their practice in quite a while.  Envisage can be used to ensure they are aware of what has changed and feel comfortable whilst attending, particularly with regard to the COVID-19 situation.  Patients can also be called to their appointment on the Envisage screen, thus saving time and minimising unnecessary movement of staff within the practice.

Get in touch below to find out more about any of the solutions mentioned in this article. 

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