GP discusses benefits of Workflow Optimisation

23 May 2018

Dr Jonathon Campbell, GP Lead for C&VUHB's General Practice Support Team, talks about the benifits of utilising Workflow Optimisation.

With an ever-increasing clinical workload, many GP Surgeries are looking at what aspects of the current workload burden could be redistributed amongst the Primary care team. In the spirit of prudent healthcare, work created from hospital correspondence can be assessed and distributed to an appropriate member of the team to be dealt with. In order to carry this out the surgery needs to:

  • Recognise not all  letters need to be seen by a GP/clinician
  • Recognise all letters are attached to patients notes regardless
  • Recognise a good proportion of letters are for information only
  • Recognise that a clinician will not recall the  contents of the majority of letters they read

The recent Communication Standards from the Cardiff & Vale UHB Clinical Director outlined agreements in communication between Primary and Secondary care, and suggests work created form these letters should be kept at a minimum. In reality, however, work does arise from letters which only a clinician can deal with.

Once appropriately trained, administrators can identify those letters which simply offer a confirmed diagnosis from a Consultant, contain useful examination findings such as BP, weight and smoking status, or simply offer an update with no new clinical information. These letters can be dealt with by an appropriately trained and supervised administrator.

Those letters that require a clinician’s input, such as a test request, new referral or complex diagnosis can still be forwarded to the clinical staff as usual. With a MDT model, prescription changes can be forwarded to a clinical pharmacist. If in doubt the administrators always have the option to run it past the GP supervising them or forward to a clinician as normal.

Through this system the amount of clinical letters forwarded to a GP can be dramatically reduced, freeing up time around clinical sessions for practice development,  an appropriate lunch break or earlier home time.

The system can be implemented by the surgery themselves with training for admin staff, protocols to follow and an assigned GP supervisor. There are however a few companies that will organise this all for you.

Some of Cardiff & Vale’s clusters have commissioned these services, at scale, for a number of Practices. This has brought cost savings compared to individual practices purchasing alone.

The principle can be applied to certain blood tests or follow ups, provided appropriate protocols are written up and followed. There are a number of surgeries in Cardiff & Vale who are already leading the way with this kind of work.

For more information please contact CAVGP and we will happily connect you for advice and support.