Marazion Surgery use Microtest’s Online Services to help patients manage their own care, book appointments online, order repeat and acute medicines with instant feedback regarding their requests and access their own detailed patient records. The Waiting Room 2, which now offers increased functionality over the earlier version of The Waiting Room, is the state of the art Microtest online services module. The functionality has been delivered to support Patient Online – a NHS England programme designed to support GP practices to offer and promote online services to patients. The Waiting Room 1 has been helping Microtest users meet national targets since 2012.
Marazion Surgery is a busy practice with around 7,000 patients. They were keen to comply with NHS Digital requirements for increasing patients’ use of online services, as well as keen to offer patients an easier way to access services at the practice and to help ease back office functions. The enhanced Waiting Room 2 solution enables patients to access various services such as online prescriptions, and the ability to book appointments online. It also provides vital national requirements such as ROSU (registered online service user) functionality, which is the account on the practice system that gives access to patient online services. The identity of a ROSU applicant is verified before credentials are issued, in accordance with the outlined processes. The functionality also enables users to access their Detailed Coded Record (DCR), and to view their SCR (summary care record). The surgery wanted to lead the way in the region by promoting the use of Online Services to patients and stimulating take up.
Marazion Surgery is a keen Microtest user and has been for many years. Microtest has been working closely with NHS England and NHS Digital in order to provide functionality to support their Patient Online programme, so the surgery chose to deploy Microtest’s Online Services, which enable practices to offer a wide range of online functionality to patients.
Online Services: offering more flexibility to the patient
Microtest’s Online Services are accessed via Microtest’s The Waiting Room 2, which offers an internet-based appointment booking solution as well as other features. The functionality enables patients to book and cancel appointments that had been booked online and there is a facility for patients to edit their details. The module allows designated appointment slots to be booked online with no interaction from practice staff, as well as the ability to preload and select repeat patient medication, which can then be authorised by the prescriber. Patients can also access their own detailed patient medical record, once the process of verification of patient identity has been completed. The patient records include coded information on medication, allergies, coded history immunisations. For example, with ROSUs, this enables a user who has elderly parents to help look after their care, i.e. ordering prescriptions and organising appointments with nurses and doctors.
Other areas of the solution that can be implemented by users are online ordering, recalls and test results, and functionality that recalls when pathology report checks are due, so the patient can take charge of their own care themselves, rather than contacting the practice or waiting for an invitation or information letter from the practice.
Naomi Mills is an administrator at Marazion Surgery and has helped deploy the new upgrade. “We were a bit nervous to start with, as it was a really big step for us, but the whole process has gone really well and with no trouble at all. We started by offering appointments online back in 2014, and advertised the service to our patients via Microtest posters, leaflets in the waiting room and a mailing. All new patients are also invited to sign up. We now have many patients registered to Online Services, and they are able to look up their notes and coded records. Offering appointments online benefits all patients – online users or not. Online users now book their appointments on the internet, meaning they don’t need to telephone the practice and non-online users benefit from quieter telephone queues when calling.”
Naomi says: “Another benefit is that patients have access to all online services 24/7 and they will not be limited to the opening hours of their surgery. We hope to see the practice benefit from a reduced administrative workload once patients use online services. It is mainly the receptionists’ time which will be saved, but the knock-on effects benefit other areas. I think the solution is great! It’s really bringing us into 21st century and ultimately enables our patients to have more responsibility for their own care. Registration for patients is quite straightforward and the solution itself is very easy to use. It’s brilliant!”
Microtest makes the uptake of this service easier by offering bespoke training sessions at their HQ and at practices on an individual basis.
Jackie Brown, Practice Manager says: “Thank you to Microtest for their patience and help whilst we are getting to grips with it all. The Waiting Room 2 is helping us harness the power of the internet, with benefits to both our patients and the surgery. Ultimately The Waiting Room 2 will allow patients easier and more accessible healthcare. Patients will feel more in control of their electronic health record and being able to book appointments online is a benefit to both patients and practice staff alike. Triage is also improved – often, asking a patient to give a reason for why they want an appointment is met with negativity and objection, however, experience shows that when asked to type a reason for the appointment booked online, they tend to give ‘chapter and verse’.”
Microtest will continue to develop and enhance these Online Services, working closely with NHS England in order to meet and exceed national requirements.