A big thankyou to all our patients and staff, a review of 2010 including our achievements and what you can do to make 2011 even better for you and your family!
Haughton Thornley Medical Centres would like to say a BIG THANKYOU to all the patients, staff and others inside the NHS and outside who have helped to make us very special. We continue to deliver an excellent service with above average scores in all clinical domains. The practice is regarded as a “beacon practice”, due in part to the initiative we have taken with our patients who are gradually becoming more empowered - being able to do more for themselves.
Here are some of the achievements over the past year we have witnessed:
- Over 1000 patients now have secure access to their GP electronic health records via the internet.
- More patients ordered repeat prescriptions on-line in 2010 compared with 2009.
- In December, one of our GPs reported that an entire early morning surgery was booked by patients on-line at a time of their convenience.
- A number of the doctors and nurses are now reporting that they know of patients who have access to their records and this is discussed during a consultation.
- The MP for Hyde and Stalybridge and the Mayor of Tameside came to the practice at dfifferent times during 2010 to see how we are supporting patients and were very impressed by our approach and were keen to encourage others to do the same.
- As part of the “I love Me” campaign run by Tameside Advertiser, there was an article about our 'Self Care' Week and how the Patient Participation Group is supporting patients to self care more.
- The Patient Participation Group put on a series of talks during 'Self Care Week' on subjects including “young carers”, “smoking cessation”, “weight matters” and getting the best from the “htmc website”. These were all recorded and made available on our site for all to see.
- We have found the talks we have done in the Health Promotion Room to be a very successful way of informing patients and others on how to manage your health better.
- There were a number of talks in the practice on issues such as heart disease, dementia, breast cancer, cervical screening, the cervical cancer vaccination programme. prostate cancer and fibromyalgia. The last talk was so successful that there was standing room only. You can see the talks we have already done by looking at the section on “Talks” on the left side of the home page www.htmc.co.uk about 2/3 of the way down – you will need to scroll down to the page. Click on one of the links and click on a video. It can take a few minutes for the video to load depending on the speed of your internet connection.
- We launched a very successful support page for patients with Swine Flu during the 2009-10 Swine Flu panendemic to allow patients to easily get treatment for Swine Flu before the national swine flu helpline was set up. Patients were asked to get their flu friend to bring a completed questionnaire which helped us to determine who needed treatment and who didn’t based on the best advice to date
But there is still much more that we can do together:
- Whilst reaching the Landmark of over 1000 patients who have enrolled for internet access to their health records is tremendous, there are also many hundreds of patients who have indicated they would like access but who have not yet completed the registration process.
- Being 'empowered' is much more than just being provided with access to your records. Patients also need to begin to understand what's contained within the record, understand your own health, become better informed and as a result be more aware of what options you can make and what it means for you now and in the future.
- We need to understand how to support you to do this better - increasing the dialogue between you our patient and the Practice staff is one way of achieving this so that we can meet your needs better whilst recognising the pressure we are all under.
- Whilst there are a number of things that patients can do, few patients are aware of them and how they can enhance your consultation with ANY doctor, nurse or even health care assistant inside the surgery or even at the hospital or community clinics. Whilst it is unlikely that any one patient would need to do them all, it is useful for everybody to have a go and incorporate those things that you feel will help you with your care.
- We would like to learn how records access is helping you to get great care. Have you thought about sharing any experiences you have had with others? This is a very powerful way of helping others to understand why they need this too. Let us know about how records access has helped you or a loved one that you would like to share with others. We would like to publish real-life stories on the practice website for others to learn from too.
What sorts of things could you do to help yourself?
1. Ensure you know your passwords so that you can access your records whenever you need to. Have a go now and see if you can access your records. If you have forgotten your passwords then send an email to email@example.com with your name and contact details and we will endeavor to get back in touch with you promptly to help you to regain access.
2. Ensure that every member of your family and friends know that they can also get access to their records. Ask them to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tell them how. They will also need to get their PIN NUMBERS from the receptionist too. Once they have signed up for access to their records, they also will receive occasional emails telling them about what else is going on in the practice too or any additions to the practice website, www.htmc.co.uk as well.
3. Have you had a look at the practice website www.htmc.co.uk recently? We are always making changes and adding new sections to it as we learn more about new local services, changes that are being made or new tools that patients with access to their records may be able to learn from. Make www.htmc.co.uk the place to book appointments online, order prescriptions online and access your medical records from. Always use this and then you can keep abreast of the new additions too. The patient control panel on the left helps you to drive your care. Since 1st January, we have just added a link for patients to be able to easily order a week’s supply of free nicotine patches to help them stop smoking. On the right side, we have got a section entitled “Confused about who to contact?” which explains all the local services that are available in case you are not sure who to turn to at different times of the day and night. You don’t always need an appointment with the doctor or to have to go to A & E for anything you need.
4. All patients should order repeat prescriptions on-line. This is much safer and quicker than coming to the surgery or even asking the pharmacist to do it for you. It means that only the repeat prescriptions you NEED are ordered and the receptionists are less likely to make a mistake of ordering the wrong items too. You also have the opportunity to learn more about the medication you are taking because there is a link you can click on when looking at your medication.
5. All patients should book appointments with the doctor of their choice at a time of their convenience on-line too. There are literally hundreds of appointments available on-line for any of the doctors up to 6 weeks in advance. It also takes seconds to cancel an appointment too so that somebody else can take that slot if you no longer need it. We still have over 200 appointments a week that patients do not attend. Even if you cancel the appointment on the day, somebody else may be able to take your slot.
6. Before any appointment with a doctor, nurse or even health care professional, check your electronic health record to remind yourself of what has happened and if any test results or letters are back that you are not aware of. Sometimes the answers to your questions (eg what is my cholesterol result) could already be there for you. Sometimes you might not understand something (eg QRISK) in which case you may wish to ask the clinician what this means and why we are testing for it.
7. Ideally you should also find your own clinical pathway to see where you are and what needs to happen next or what should have happened. Why don’t you try this yourself? Look at your medical record and the list of “Active or Significant Clinical Problems”. This gives a list of the current problems you suffer with eg Asthma. Now look at the practice website and in the Self Care for Family and Friends section on the left, you will see “Map of Medicine”. Click on this and in the search bar, type in “asthma”. This will then show you the relevant pathways for you. Click on this and find out more about what asthma is and how best to manage it. Better still, why don’t you print it off, make notes and bring it along with you every time you have a consultation. Use it as a guide for further discussions about what needs to happen next or things you think should have happened. This is how the team works! Sometimes we may not follow what the Map of Medicine says but the clinician will be able to advise you why that is the case. At other times, you may not find a relevant pathway for you – but at least you have tried and you can always ask the clinician if they can help you find the relevant pathway. Who knows – may be there are others asking the same question and nobody has thought about it. We can then ask for that pathway to be made just for you!
8. Do send us an email if you find your pathway and tell us what you think about the care you have received compared to what the Map of Medicine says. We don’t always get things right first time and it is getting harder and harder to do so within the constraints of the system we are in. But if you can check your own record with what the Map of Medicine says then you may be able to help us to help you even more!
9. This year we are planning on a big drive to encourage Care Plans for all patients with long term conditions. The idea is that your doctor or nurse gives you information on what to do in the event of certain events happening to you eg if you suffer with severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (a condition that affects your lungs usually if you have smoked for a long time), then you should have instructions on when to start antibiotics as soon as you get a chest infection. We plan to give you more information to help you “nip things in the bud” before they become a bigger problem. Remember to ask your doctor or nurse about your care plan. We would love to hear what you think about them and how they help you. We hope to provide you with more information in the coming months too.
10. As the number of cases with flu rises and a number of cases of Swine Flu have been diagnosed, we have again re-instated an updated version of the Flu page incorporating swine flu. If you are in a high risk group OR you are pregnant, then you must ensure you have had your FLU INJECTION as soon as possible. Contact the practice to find out how or ask the doctor or nurse to be given the flu jab when you see them. If you start with symptoms of flu and are not sure what to do then look at the advice on the home page www.htmc.co.uk. We have put a link on advice for flu for you to look at.
11. Have you ever thought about giving your medical records to your children or grandchildren when you pass away? Sounds very morbid but some patients have started to say they would like to do this because there may well be conditions you suffer with now that could run in families that we do not yet know about. Perhaps your record may come in handy when your grandchildren are asked “is there anything that runs in the family?” We do not yet know what the implications of this are but Dr Richard Fitton, a local GP in Glossop, is arranging a conference on 24th June 2011 to discuss this very issue and its implications. We are looking for patients that may be interested in getting involved and who may wish to do some exercises before hand which they can share with the audience on the day. Please get back in touch if you would like to know more. (Please note – we do not share your record with anybody else without your expressed permission except for a few exceptions which are written in law to safeguard your right to privacy and confidentiality).
12. We hope to continue doing a number of talks this year on subjects such as “skin conditions”, “multiple sclerosis”, “cataracts and organ donation” and even “fostering and adopting a child”. We would be happy to consider any other talks that you think would be interesting. Your participation in these talks is essential to help make them successful. Come along to the talks to learn more and then encourage others to watch them afterwards is a great way of learning more for yourself and others too.
13. Why don’t you come along to the Patient Participation Group to advise us on what else you think we should do? It’s a great place to find out what is happening in the practice and also to influence what we do and help to set priorities for the coming year and beyond. Past achievements have included getting a pharmacy next door in Thornley House Medical Centre, looking to improve patient access to doctors and nurses, bringing to our attention issues people in the community are discussing that we may not be otherwise aware of, helping to do surveys of patients looking at patient experience and encouraging patients to get access to their records. We are keen to encourage more patients to join the group. We meet between 2-3pm every 6 weeks or so. You can find out more about what they do and what they discuss by looking at the “Patient Zone” at the top of the home page – www.htmc.co.uk. The next meeting is on Thursday 27th January 2-3pm at Thornley House.
14. We would like to set up a patient panel which looks at improving the look and feel of the practice website www.htmc.co.uk to help make it even better. Would you like to join such a panel? We would like to test out new ideas with you, find out what you really want and need from the site, collect feedback from you on what we should do next and where we should focus more of our attention, what things we should remove and generally be a “critical friend” to help guide us towards a better experience for patients. Please send us an email if you would like to join the “patient panel” to find out more about this new venture.
15. Finally, you may have seen guidance that has been produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners for clinicians and system suppliers on how to share medical records with patients. We would now like to start a new process for patients to produce guidance for other patients on how to access electronic health records. We feel that the patients who have access to their records are in the best position to be able to advise others on how to do it. This is a very exciting new development and are in discussions with colleagues around the world on how to do this. Please send us an email if you would like to get involved in this truly ground-breaking initiative. There are about 12,000 patients in the practice, 240,000 patients in Tameside & Glossop, about 70 million people in the UK and about 6 billion people on the planet. We now want to produce guidance for every person on the planet on how to do this produced by patients themselves. We can help you to do this but we need YOUR HELP.
There is a great deal of things going on inside the practice and outside it. We are keen to make 2011 even more successful by working together with our patients towards an even better year. If you have any further ideas or would like respond to any of the issues we have discussed here then please do get back in touch with us. We would love to hear from you!
Happy New Year!
Haughton Thornley Medical Centres