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Health / Digital tool reduces waiting times at Lerwick GP practice

AN ONLINE tool that helps improve communication between patients and the health team at the Lerwick GP practice has been highly praised by its users.

The askmyGP app was introduced at the Lerwick practice in May this year to help manage an ever-increasing workload resulting in in efficiencies, frustration and long waiting times for patients.

Lerwick Health Centre manager Adam Czarnobay.Lerwick Health Centre manager Adam Czarnobay.

Practice manager Adam Czarnobay said initial feedback from patients had surpassed expectations from the practice team.

He said 96 per cent of patients who had given feedback rated the app as ‘good’ or ’excellent’.

The success of the ‘online engagement tool’ is now being reviewed, and its use could, over time, be expanded to other GP practices in the isles.

Czarnobay said: “We introduced the new system in May and we are now really starting to see an improvement in the service we can offer.

“Before, patients had to wait days, sometimes weeks for an appointment with a specific clinician whereas now we are able to immediately route enquiries to the requested clinician far more efficiently.”

The practice manager said enquiries coming through the askmyGP system were not all for GPs but could be attended to by advanced nursing practitioners, pharmacists and physiotherapists.

Some non-clinical requests were regularly resolved by someone on the admin team, he said.

To use askmyGP a patient must register online. Thereafter, if they need access to a clinician, they type in their problem and indicate how they would like a GP or advanced nursing practitioner to contact them.

“We do stress to patients that the new online tool does not replace any other method of contacting the practice,” he said.

“It’s about getting the patients’ request to the person with the most appropriate skill set.

“What this means is that those patients who need to see a GP can now reach one without a long wait. It has changed our service virtually overnight.”

Czarnobay  added that eventually the practice would like to see 70 to 80per cent of patients accessing the practice through askmyGP.

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