Dr Clare Gibbons is a GP and Medical Director at Salford Health Matters, a group of three GP surgeries and a service for homeless people. She led one of 20 teams that have taken part in MAHSC’s Improvement Science for Academics Programme so far. The course trains clinicians in effectively translating innovation and research into service improvements.
We’d tried for years to reduce unnecessary A&E visits in our area by encouraging patients to see their GPs, but none of our efforts were as successful as hoped.
The first thing we learned as part of IS4Ac was that we had bitten off a bit more than we could chew. Our goals were too ambitious, and we were trying to overhaul entire systems where we could have made minor changes. We identified where small tweaks could be made to our everyday processes and found their impact was much bigger than we thought!
For instance, calls to GPs late in the day plummeted when we changed our answering machine message to tell patients they should contact us early to increase their chance of being seen. More patients picked up our phonecalls when we explained that we would call from a withheld number, and with this success we were prompted to install a new telephone system from which none of our numbers are withheld and which communicates to patients where they are in on-hold queues. Now we’re training receptionists to field some calls themselves rather than over-burdening busy GPs.
Our IS4Ac experience was such an eye opener that we’ve changed the way we work. With better use of the resources we already have we’re seeing real benefits to patients in a cost-effective way.
MAHSC Population health and implementation domain - overview and case study
MAHSC’s Population health and implementation domain gives an overview of its work to improve the health of the Greater Manchester population and presents a case study of what academics and clinicians can achieve for patient care, working together.
Presented by Professor Maxine Power, Clinical lead for the Population health and implementation domain.