Primary Care News

GP website benchmarking and improvement tool launched

NHS England has published a GP website benchmarking and improvement tool (Excel spreadsheet) to support general practice, audit their website information and key patient user journeys.

It aims to support GP practices to review their website in line with patient journeys, such as to helping people find information about urgent and routine appointments, booking or changing an appointment, prescriptions information and ordering repeat prescriptions, to receiving test results.

The guide places a large focus on using simple and easy to understand language on each webpage and highlights the importance of good copywriting for NHS services, including a guide on best practices. The tool references that “six in 10 adults struggle with health information that includes numbers and statistics” and notes an automated to test to provide a reading grading score for a website page.

On the Excel spreadsheet, it asks a practice to review a range of tasks a patient would take on the website, seeking a score of ‘well’, ‘adequately’ or ‘inadequately’, in relation to usability for a patient.

The tool goes on to detail the tasks and the words or labels to use to support user navigation. It covers the use of overlays and pop ups, and the need to ensure a website works on mobile devices. It goes on to focus on information about routine and pre bookable appointments, noting the way “patients and GP surgeries categorise different types of appointments differ.” It adds that finding the prescriptions page is the second most important task for patients accessing a GP surgery website, and that “patients use three strategies when looking for a task – links on the homepage, item in the main menu and using the site search. For a task to be findable, each of the three strategies must be supported.”

It continues to focus on using NHS design components, highlighting that: “The NHS has a set of design components (the bits and pieces that make up web pages) available for web designers and developers to use. They are well tested, free and help build web journeys that are familiar and easy for patients to navigate.”

For more information and to view the tool, please click here.

Earlier this year for HTN Digital Primary Care, we held a session with Dr Minal Bakhai on supporting general practice to transform and create a sustainable future. Minal discussed a range of topics on how general practice can lever change differently and the ways in which technology can enhance the experience for patients and staff, including focusing on online user journeys.

For the event, we also held a session with GP practice website specialists Iatro who presented a session on creating a highly usable and accessible GP website for patients.