Releasing Time for Care
Over the past couple of months, representatives from across the practice have been working together and taking part in the Quick Start Improvement Programme alongside other practices from across the Morecambe Bay CCG area. This initiative gave us an opportunity to work alongside experts in improvement works, and invest time in identifying areas for improvement – looking specifically at reducing waste and creating efficiencies.
We focussed on 4 areas:
Well Organised Practice –Lynsey Hehir, Healthcare Support Worker, invested time in standardising our clinical Stock Cupboard to ultimately save time, “Finding items in the stock cupboard was like finding a needle in a haystack, stock levels were high which created a wastage when stock expired, this created frustrations for the team and waste in clinical time. Before we started the standardisation we tasked a member of the team with finding five items in the cupboard – 8 minutes later she still hadn’t managed to locate them all! Following the standardisation process it took just over a minute to find the same five items, we calculated this saving to the Practice as 312 hours per year (8 weeks!!), a cost saving of at least £7000; we’ve prevented overspending and the team are much happier!”
Common Approach – Alex Hill, Administrator, has been part of the team focussing on our internal admin systems, “We brought together our ideas and thoughts on how we could help streamline and improve the general running of the Practice. We were able to come up with a number of proposals to help the Administration, Dispensary and Clinical staff, which ultimately will create a more positive experience for our patients. Examples include looking at how we can maximise the efficiency and capabilities of the current computer programs we use, and how we can fine tune appointment booking, so as to create a simpler experience for staff and patients.”
Efficient Processes – Pauline Mashiter, Senior Receptionist, is looking at how we can use other communication tools such as text messaging to contact our patients about their test results, “We are looking at the way in which we communicate test results to patients and how we arrange follow-up appointments to improve the experience for patients and clinicians alike. We are exploring alternative ways of contacting patients with their test results such as text messaging in order to provide a more timely service and save our time in repeatedly calling patients who are unavailable to take the call.”
Appropriate Appointments – Emma Turner, Practice Operations Manager, evaluated how appointments are managed in our system, “We conducted a survey of face to face appointments booked with a GP or Nurse Practitioner. We found that 18% of them could have been dealt with by a Community Pharmacist, 18% could have been dealt with via the telephone, and a number could have been dealt with by the admin team. We calculated that £172,000 could be saved per year if appointments are signposted to the correct service. As a result of this work we are looking at ways to manage demand and release capacity…watch this space!!”
Emma celebrated and shared this success with other practices in the Morecambe Bay area on Tuesday 10th June, “Practices are facing similar challenges, it was great to share innovation and learning, and explore how we can work together to bring sustainable improvement and maintain momentum”.
Well done team!