Trescobeas Surgery in Falmouth is an IT-friendly practice which embraces new technology and has an increasing patient list size, with around 40 members of staff. The practice has been using Microtest Evolution and its appointments module since it was first developed.
Trescobeas Surgery worked with Microtest to help pioneer their Appointments Module, which helps to organise appointments for their GPs quickly and efficiently.
Effective Total Triage System
Nina Strange is Reception Manager at the surgery and explains: “We find the system is so helpful and it’s something we’ve worked on and pioneered with Microtest. We have created a total triage call-back system for the doctors, which is set up in 5 minute slots and can be configured through Evolution. It helps allocate patients fairly across the team, so that each GP has a fair share of newly raised problems/ailments with patients through the telephone call back process – as well as existing patient problems – keeping continuity of care with the same clinicians. This is so important for both the patient and the doctor, as the doctor already knows that patient’s history and how they are being treated. The system is quick and easy to set up and the user interface with Evolution is effective and efficient in dealing with the appointment requests especially at busiest times. The system is totally streamlined, and means that within the allocated 5 minutes, the doctor has triaged the patient, made the next appointment and dealt with the patient there and then, which enhances patient care and saves time for everyone. This way of working enhances the patient experience, minimising the amount of time needed to phone the surgery. The patient is also engaged in the process and involved in their healthcare.”
Nina explains: “The reason we chose to use this system is so that the doctor can decide the appropriate amount of time required for each particular appointment. For example, if the patient wants to see the doctor about a sore throat, they can allocate 10 minutes, but if it is, for example, a mental health issue, the doctor can create a longer appointment. The clinician making the appointment can also help make important judgements on how long the patient can wait for the appointment. Before we used this system, we knew that patients were being allocated without any particular reasoning being applied, which meant that one doctor could end up having a lot more new clinical work than a doctor with a more established patient base.”
Colour Coding and helpful clinic short cuts
The new system means that appointments are colour coded for ease of reading and allocation. Nina says: “We colour code each appointment slot, which makes it really easy for the receptionists to use, i.e. red to annotate a slot to book a new patient into, and black for an ongoing problem with that particular doctor. If a doctor feels that an appointment has been booked (coded) incorrectly, then they will highlight it in green and we can review and reassess. This is not a ‘blame thing’, but a training and feedback tool that is really helpful.”
The structure of the appointments module within the surgery enables clinicians to use clinic and calendar short cuts and also print out appointment labels and slips to streamline the process. We code and name clinics intuitively so the GP can find them easily. Nina continues: “We worked closely with Microtest to develop this module with them and we are really happy with the results. I would highly recommend it to any other surgery!”