Did you know that NHS England has produced a range of promotional materials to help GP surgeries promote online services to patients?
As we talked about back in April, new figures released by NHS Digital have revealed that the number of patients signing up to online GP services has almost doubled over the past year. This major shift makes it clear that there are numerous benefits to both practices and patients of making use of online services. With workloads reduced for practice staff; increased patient satisfaction, fewer DNAs and the multiple advantages of patients having access to their own records online, GP practices really should be embracing and promoting these services to their patients.
The great news is that NHS England is helpfully making it easy for practice staff to bolster their publicity efforts courtesy of toolkits, patient guides and promotional materials. We thought it would be helpful to take a look at precisely what is available, and put forward a few ideas of our own to assist you in getting the most out of what is on offer.
The NHS toolkits include a range of template articles and blogs, together with social media posts suitable for Facebook and Twitter, as well as a press release that you can send to your local media.
All the material is designed to be personalised so that it is relevant to your particular practice and patients.
We've discussed in the past the importance for the GP surgery to be publishing regular blogs. GP bloggers play an important role in educating the public and, as thought-leaders, help enhance patient and community relations AND boost the profile of the practice. What's more, Google loves regularly added fresh content, so the GP website enjoys a boost in rankings, which is always good news.
Our article linked above included a guide on how to blog, but if you still haven't got around to it, or you could do with a helping hand getting started, why not make use of the article and blog templates on offer in the NHS toolkit?
The same goes for social media. Our Facebook and Twitter guides for GP practices will help you get set up and provide tips and advice on when, how and what to post. But if you're still looking for inspiration on content, the toolkit will be a great help to you.
The National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP) has also produced its own toolkit to help patient participation groups promote GP online services.
The Department of Health website offers an ordering service for a wide range of promotional materials such as posters, leaflets, bunting, cardboard displays, appointment cards and balloons, all geared towards bringing online services to the attention of patients whilst in the surgery or at a local event where your practice has a presence.
As well as decorating the surgery waiting room to help educate patients on the benefits and availability of GP online services, there is also the option to go digital with your promotional efforts.
Why not promote GP online services with a colourful splash across your website home page like this?
Infographics are incredibly powerful tools. Statistics reveal that infographic search volumes increased by over 800 per cent between 2010 and 2012. The reason is that people love visuals because they help to explain concepts in a much clearer and easier to understand way. They are eye-catching; designed for online scan-readers; they stick in the mind; they're engaging and what's more, they are widely shared across social media, which greatly helps to push your messages out further. So it's well worth making use of these excellent free resources.
Patient Information Guides
There is a comprehensive set of patient guides available, from getting started guides through to information for carers and advice on accessing patient records, all of which can be downloaded here either in black and white or colour.
Why not download the guides you think your patients will be interested in and add them to your own website as free downloads of your own? A useful resources section on your GP website will always go down well with patients. You could also include links to the guides in your email newsletters, blogs and social media posts.
How to Order Your GP Online Promotional Materials
You will find plenty of help in ordering your promotional materials here on the NHS England website.
You'll need to register for an account if you don't already have one. It's a simple process; just follow the link above and you'll see the instructions set out step by step.
If you already have an account you can simply login and click on GP ONLINE SERVICES in the 'campaign search' pane. All the resources available will be listed ready for you to order.
Patient information guides are downloadable without an account and there's no need for an account to access the toolkits either.
Need Help Delivering Patient Online Services Through your GP Website?
As we've discussed before, a GP practice that offers a full range of online services to its patients is a GP practice that will engage more readily with its patients and find it more straightforward to attract new ones.
Whatever GP online services system you use, incorporating online access for patients into your website really is a simple procedure. If you'd like to discover more about how you can make the most of the services that are proven to be in demand by patients, why not contact Tree View Designs? Our extensive knowledge of NHS processes and vast experience working within the NHS puts us in the optimal position to provide you with the expertise you need.
We can help you use the free NHS resources to the full, AND make sure your website is designed and optimised for the best possible patient experience.