FROM WEEKS TO HOURS: HOW WE ARE GIVING PATIENTS EASY ACCESS AND QUICK RESOLUTIONS
Hello, I’m Dr Ben Davies, one of the Partners at Jesmond Health Partnership.
Many of you will already know about the big change we made in July this year.
We introduced a new online consultation service – called Salvie – which has made it quicker and easier for patients to consult with our GPs, cutting out the frustrating phone queues and limited choice of appointments.
In short, it is a way for you to send a request in your own words and time through our website, choose which doctor to send it to, and how you would like them to reply.
It is a fundamental change not just to how we operate, but to the traditional model of General Practice that everyone is used to.
We’ve been able to reimagine the Doctor-Patient relationship. It’s now much more direct, far quicker and more efficient whilst making use of the technology we use in our everyday lives.
Newcastle’s only digital-first GP practice
We are the first GP practice in Newcastle to adopt this system. The change to phone-first appointments during the pandemic demonstrated that a majority of issues be resolved over the phone. It also showed patients were in favour of remote appointments when they brought swift resolutions.
Two months into using Salvie – previously called ‘AskMyGP’– and the statistics and feedback from patients back this up.
We knew that a big source of frustration for patients was having to phone at certain times, and often queue or call back to get an appointment.
Salvie has changed this dramatically, with 80% of requests now coming in online. The volume of calls we get has dropped massively, as you’d expect. This means if you do need to call us – for a Nurses appointment, or if you don’t have internet access – it’s far easier to get through.
The availability and times of appointment was also a big issue that we were all aware of. We are now able to resolve 86% of issues without patients having to visit the surgery. Cutting out unnecessary appointments means that if we do need to see you in person, we can normally do it on the same day.
Rather than a two-week wait to get an appointment, we’re now resolving patients’ issues in hours. On average, you’ll get the first response in just 8 minutes and a resolution within 3 ¼ hours.
The same high quality of care
It’s not just the speed that is a major positive of this new approach: it’s the control it gives to you as patients.
You don’t need to be free to call us at 10 am when appointments were released, or have to squeeze an appointment in around your normal schedule because it was the only one available.
The system is live 24 hours a day, so you don’t need to wait until Monday morning to get in touch. You can send a message whenever you prefer – we’ll reply in our normal business hours (8 am to 6 pm). But if you know you’ll be away from your phone between certain times, you can say in your message and we’ll do our best to work around you.
Patients also place high importance on continuity of care – seeing the same clinician about a chronic condition so you’re comfortable they understand your history. So far we’ve been able to meet this more than 8 out of 10 times – Salvie shows you which Doctors are on duty, and if your preferred GP isn’t in the day, you can see when they will be back.
- 2,867 Unique users
- 4,954 Requests sent
- 80% of requests come in online
- 8-minute average wait to first response
- 194 minutes average resolution time
- 82% dealt with by preferred Doctor
- Over 95% of Patients recommend the new system
What our patients say
How to use Salvie
It is a straightforward system to use and you can register to send your first request in just a few minutes.
- Access Salvie through the ‘Get Help Now with Salvie’ button on our homepage
- Find Login to consult your GP or visit NHS Self Help if you prefer
- Sign up as a new user if it’s your first visit
- Create an account with a few simple details
- You’re now set up and able to send your first request
For your convenience, you can add the Salvie welcome page to your favourites in your web browser. Or if you’re using your smartphone, you can add Salvie to your home screen like you would an app. Getting an account set up now means it’s ready for you to use whenever you come to need it.
We are pleased with how the first few months of this new approach have gone. Our goal has always been to provide our patients with quick access to the best possible care – right place, right time, first time.