Background and Challenge
Bay Medical Group is a large merged Practice covering 5 sites: Heysham Primary Care Centre, West End Surgery, York Bridge Surgery, Westgate Surgery and Morecambe Health Centre, supporting around 54,000 patients in total. The Practice is committed to ensuring patient satisfaction and strives to improve access to services for patients which includes the enhanced use of digital technology.
A year ago, Bay Medical Group had very few patients using online services and the Practice was keen to introduce initiatives to improve online access. Members of the Bay Medical Group IT team who have been working on this area are fully able to appreciate how the administrative burden faced by Bay Medical Group and Practices nationally, could be more effectively managed by services which contribute to patients managing their own health.
Following success in other areas of the country it was decided to promote the Smartphone app, myGP®, developed by iPLATO, so patients could book/cancel appointments, track their health and manage and order their repeat medications.
The Practice wanted to encourage patients to use the app and has undertaken initiatives to increase uptake including:
- Using the iPLATO SMS marketing campaign to invite 41,000 Practice patients who have a mobile phone number registered at the Practice to download the app
- Establishing and managing regular IT surgeries in house and at local community centres to assist individuals to navigate myGP and online services
- Promoting online services:
- At courses that patients attend for example Practice wellbeing courses
- At local events for example at the Morecambe Carnival
- Placing marketing materials and information within local community centres
In less than 12 months, patients using myGP has risen from zero to almost 8,000 active users. This app allows Bay Medical Group to work towards achieving NHS England targets for online services and in turn reduces the administrative burden and improves patients access to the Practice by increasing the use of digital solutions. Through patients using the myGP prescription ordering service, not only does it make the process more convenient for the patient, but it frees up much needed administration time. To build on the success of myGP, the Practice is now considering introducing preGP™, an in-app signposting and patient care navigation that directs patients to alternate, more appropriate, points of care.