Primary Care News

Prescription management, long-term conditions, and new patient registrations in focus for improving care navigation in general practice

NHS England’s Primary Care Transformation team has published a guide focusing on prescription management, long-term conditions and new patient registrations as part of support to improve care related processes in general practice.

For improving prescription management, the guidance places focus on increasing uptake of the NHS App or other patient facing service apps, and moving patients away from paper processes or telephone ordering. Here, it focuses on considering the ways in which patients currently order repeat prescriptions, and the appropriate communication methods and language to use in order to raise awareness of digital tools and explain the benefits. It goes on to highlight the need to brief the practice team on the communication plan, segment different groups who may benefit from different messages, and how and when to communicate regular messages. For PCNs and prescriptions working at scale, the guidance covers an opportunity for practices to use a prescription hub, share protocols and processes.

On long-term condition management, the guidance suggests “a personalised care approach with use of shared medical appointments, social prescribing and digitally enabled self-management depending on patient choice and need”. Here, it cites the use of “medically approved digital health questionnaires via online consultation tools, to gather information asynchronously to navigate and risk stratify patients based on urgency of review and continuity needs, identify need for tests prior to review, and identify specific requirements for the appointment”.

For improving the new patient registration process, the guidance covers how to increase online use, review and plan the patient online journey, and consider automation back-office tools. Here, it notes a current pilot programme to automate the process of matching a patient against the spine, and into the clinical system.

The guidance forms part of the General Practice Improvement Programme, available on the FutureNHS platform.

Earlier in the week, HTN shared an NHS England support offer that focuses on improving telephone journeys in general practice. Here, the aim is to support practices and PCNs in choosing, purchasing and optimising the use of advanced cloud-based telephony. The guidance covers the functionality offered; the use of call data to make improvements with four key metrics outlined; aligning handling capacity with demand; making continuous improvements to telephone journeys; and scaling telephony.

Last year, Dr Osman Bhatti shared with HTN a unique patient registration tool for North East London. Dr Bhatti shared key learnings, challenges and experiences from the development of a unique patient registration tool that allows patients across North East London to register with a GP easily and quickly.

In August, we chaired a panel discussion on digital primary care, where we welcomed Nikki Mallinder (director of primary care at Surrey Heartlands ICS); Dr Paul Wright, (GP, deputy clinical director/IT clinical lead at NHS Greater Manchester and CCIO at Manchester and Trafford Local Care Organisation); Jamie Innes (product director at Inhealthcare); and Dr Osman Bhatti (GP and CCIO at North East London ICB). The panel shared their experiences in digital primary care, with focus on managing access and demand; the management of long-term conditions; supporting the workforce digitally; and their hopes for the future.