A practice in Buckingham is saving up to 40 days a year on calls and appointments to discuss test results with patients, thanks to digital access.
Since offering patients online results via Patient Access a year ago, The Swan Practice in Buckingham has calculated it has halved the number of these calls a day with patients. They are now able to log on to view test results after their GP has checked them. Previously, patients would ring reception five days after a test to get results, or book an appointment.
GP Rebecca Pryse said: “We initially only offered the online service to patients when they came in for blood or urine tests. The take-up was good and we are now offering it to all patients who register. Not only is it saving the practice time, it has revolutionised self-care. The GPs can add a comment to the online test results, explaining what it all means so patients know what to do next and don’t have to call. They are also encouraged to visit health information websites for more information.”
The practice, which has a list size of 20,000 across two sites, has signed up 1,200 patients to Patient Access and the numbers are growing. It is part of a successful NHS England drive to give all patients access to GP online services at their surgery. More than 95% of surgeries now offer an online service such as Patient Access.
Faster, easier access for patients
Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England Director of Primary Care said: “We understand our patients lead busy lives and finding time to schedule doctors’ appointments, pick up prescriptions or call up for test results can be a challenge. We want to ensure faster, easier access for patients, as well as support hard pressed practices in becoming more efficient.”
Twenty six per cent of the patients using Patient Access at The Swan Practice have a long term condition such as asthma or diabetes. Graeme Johnston was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis ten years ago. Being able to view a snapshot of his entire test history gives him peace of mind. He said: “I keep pretty well but I take a broad range of medication and need regular blood results.”
Helping patients self-manage
Before online test results became available, Graeme kept track of his results in a booklet that he had to bring into the surgery for the nurses to complete. Now he is able to easily view them online all the way back to 2006. “It makes me understand my disease better. Recently I had raised liver enzyme levels related to one of my medications, which are a concern. Because I could see my past results, I noticed a few more occasions with similar results. The condition previously improved without further action, as indeed happened this time.”
Watch this NHS England film to see how patients and staff at the Swan Practice are using digital access.