General practice management; it’s a constant balancing act for many with the clinical requirements and needs of caring for patients against non-clinical administration and business models.
A recent report on primary care in the NHS from Cogora found that the morale of all staff within the NHS is at a six year low and a large proportion of NHS workers are feeling overworked and under-appreciated.
Add to this fears over Brexit which, according to Cogora, more than 75% of NHS workers believe will have a negative impact on clinical staff, especially nurses.
So what can we do as practice managers or partners to help our teams feel safe, supported and empowered?
– What can we do to help our clinicians focus on care that we might not already be doing?
– And what can we do differently to utilise the unique skills of our receptionist and admin teams in order to keep care organised and flowing smoothly?
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen first-hand the enormous benefits of upskilling your admin teams to take on clinical document processing through our popular course. Here’s what we’ve found:
Diversify admin staff roles
The role your backroom administration staff takes on varies, but rarely involves anything related to the clinical side of the business with the clinical staff usually having to deal with their own admin along with trying to juggle caseloads.
However, admin staff are extremely skilled at administration, so they are a brilliant resource to use to take the pressure off the clinical staff like doctors, healthcare assistants and nurses. This allows the clinical staff to focus entirely on dealing with their patients, rather than worrying about admin.
Naturally some admin will need to be dealt with by the clinicians due to the nature of their role, but a large amount could become the responsibility of non-clinical admin staff. It is estimated almost 90% of a GP’s correspondence can be managed successfully by admin staff with appropriate training.
This correspondence – clinic letters, discharge summaries, screening results etc– is time consuming for clinicians to deal with and can take up valuable time which would serve the practice better if it were patient-facing rather than tapping away at a computer.
Make your practice more efficient
Clinical document processing was a key way to release time for care in NHS England’s ten ‘High Impact Actions’, designed to make General Practice more efficient and the use of primary care providers more valuable to their practices.
Since 2016, there has been funding provided by NHS England to CCGs throughout the country to give as many practices as possible access to this kind of training.
The Orr Medical Training team has been delivering this course since 2017 and has often been called in by practices where other clinical document processing training has left them with no clear direction how to get started with the process.
Our training helps to drastically reduces the time clinical staff spend on documentation, with the amount of admin requiring the attention of a GP being reduced by up to 80% in many cases. In real terms, this means that a single GP could free up almost 45 minutes of time per day – the time for at least a handful of appointments in many practices.
Improve staff morale
Upskilling backroom staff is a great way to improve the morale of backroom staff by demonstrating your confidence in their ability to handle these extra responsibilities.
Handling clinical documents isn’t too different from their normal day to day duties in practice, but giving them the skills and extra training required will make them feel empowered and improve their morale.
This in turn will have a positive impact on the customer service of the practice, leading to a more efficient workforce, happier patients, and staff that are confident in their role. Extra training and increased responsibilities also provide progression opportunities for members of staff, which will help them map out their careers and give them something to work towards and achieve.
Along with improving the roles of the non-clinical staff, implementing this kind of measure will also help clinical staff regain control of their workloads as they will only have to concern themselves with correspondence that needs their attention, rather than every piece of clinical correspondence.
If you’re yet to see the benefits of clinical document processing within your practice, why not get in touch to learn more about our practical training sessions.