The NHS Long Term Plan which was published on 7 January 2019 sets out ambitious ideas for improvement over the next decade, following the five year funding settlement announced by the government in July 2018. The plan underpins the importance of technology in the future NHS whilst setting out the critical priorities that will support digital transformation and provide a step change in the way the NHS cares for citizens. This includes apps and websites where healthcare professionals and patients will be able to interact and share information on a 24/7 basis. Websites are the building blocks of the Internet and whether you are a company trying to sell your products, a charity seeking to raise awareness for your cause, a Dentist Surgery trying to surpass the nearby competition or a GP Surgery / Federation / Collaborative trying to engage with your patients in a more efficient manner you should definitely be aware of its benefits and how you can take advantage from a good website.
Jorge Goncalves (Practice Manager)
In my own experience as a Practice Manager, having worked with a few GP surgeries across London in the past 8 years, I have always tried to explore the potential of this tool and used it to the benefit of not only the Practice (in terms of work efficiency and reduction of time wasted in unnecessary consultations, for example) but also and especially to the benefit of patients (and I am not just referring to the younger, more tech-savvy ones). By having a great website – and by this I mean, one that is user friendly, easy to navigate, with lots of information about services provided and with options for accessibility of services online – GP surgeries, Federations, GP Collaboratives, private clinics and Hospital Trusts are able to engage with their patients more and better whilst reducing costs!
All this sounds great doesn't it?! But the list of benefits goes on:
- Establish patient (and prospective patient) connections: you can achieve this by having informative pages on the services offered, you can share your mission and other things like location details, PPG meeting dates, any achievements or awards the organisation may have won recently and of course you ratings from CQC, Google and NHS Choices.
- Promote healthy lifestyles, compliance and personal health management: there are several apps nowadays which you can incorporate in your website and which promote healthy living or you may want to add information on how patients can self-manage their conditions. You can also let patients know when seasonal campaigns are running e.g. flu vaccinations. Social prescribing information is another example through which patients can be referred by a medical professional and improve the quality of their health via a series of activities. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a wide range of sports.
- Your website allows patient accessibility to your organisation 24/7 even when your doors are closed: by providing information 24 hours a day, your website makes your phone number, address, office hours and other content available to patients 24 hours a day, which is especially helpful for patients experiencing medical emergencies. Likewise you can include in your website downloadable patient forms, directions to the office and online or click-to-call booking options which will improve the efficiency of your services.
- Speaking of efficiency...just by having a website with information about the practice and online appointment forms you are guaranteed to reduce the time staff spends on the phone answering commonly asked questions, allowing more time to focus on patient care and improve how the practice operates.
- Improve the patient experience: making new patient forms available online can reduce the amount of time a patient has to spend in the waiting room by encouraging them to download the documents and fill them out in advance. You can also add other forms such as self-certification, medical exemption forms, access to medical records, etc.
- CQC: the inspectors will surely look at your website prior to an inspection and the more informative, inclusive and interactive your website is, the better your site will look at the eyes of the inspection team. Trust me on this, I have survived (and strived) through 4 inspections in the last 8 years!
Did you know...
Transferring to Tree View Designs could not be easier or quicker. We do not commit you to a contract; instead, we have a Service Level Agreement. Once returned, we invoice you and upon receipt of payment, we commence work. Your site will be live in ten working days with all your content transferred. If you require creatives such as logos, then we can add them once you have approved the final design. Your brand colours can be integrated within your site too.
Jorge Goncalves (NHS Practice Manager)