The benefit of online interaction between patients and their general practices continues to grow as over a quarter of the patient population are now registered to use GP online services.
Further evidence has been gathered from across the country, including from the GP online services accelerator sites and the key benefits identified to date include:
- Reduced administrative workload for practice staff: The use of GP online services can help to relieve some of the administrative workload of practice staff by reducing patient phone calls and visits. Time released by such efficiencies will be available to support improvements to other aspects of care services including a better experience for patients – particularly those who still prefer to, or need to visit or use the phone.
- Improved communication between patients and practices: Online booking services can improve communication between patients and their practices, leading to higher levels of convenience and patient satisfaction.
- Reduced travel for patients: Increased use of online repeat prescription services should lead to reduced travel time for patients, more convenience and higher levels of patient satisfaction. Additionally, it can result in a reduction in the quantity of drugs being held in stock, reducing cost outlay for pharmacies.
- Expanded health knowledge for patients: Better information can empower patients and carers, leading to increased knowledge and health literacy. In turn, this can lead to improved patient satisfaction and wellbeing. Accessing their online records means patients can review up-to-date and relevant information before or after their consultation at any time of the day.
- Increased information sharing: GP online services and the sharing of information and transactions supports increased patient safety, including fewer mistakes, duplications, complaints and erroneous drug doses.
- Increased ability of patients to make more informed decisions: Patients’ satisfaction and wellbeing is increased by their ability to make more informed decisions about their health and care, facilitated by access to personal health records.
- Increased operational efficiencies for practices: An increase in the number of patients booking, cancelling and amending appointments online can reduce phone calls to practices. Benefits for patients and staff include increased patient satisfaction and greater operational efficiencies for the practice.
- Increased patient satisfaction: Online appointment booking can improve and speed up access to clinical expertise, leading to higher levels of patient satisfaction and enhanced health and wellbeing.
- Reduction of DNAs for practices: The use of online booking services can decrease waiting times for appointments by reducing the number of people who do not attend (DNA) their appointment.
- Improved access to care services: Using GP online services helps to improve access to care services, making them more convenient, with streamlined transfers between different points of care. In turn, this contributes to improvements in levels of patient satisfaction and more efficient delivery of services, supporting better use of clinical time.