This Kent practice introduced barcoding to streamline the administration of its flu vaccination clinics, dramatically reducing staff time and cutting costs.
The Summercroft Surgery in Orpington had previously posted personalised invitations to eligible patients for flu jabs.
These would include all necessary patient details, such as their NHS number, on a tear-off slip that they would bring with them to the clinic.
This enabled clinics to run very efficiently, with the patient simply handing the slip to the clinician at the time of vaccination, so a data entry clerk could refer to the tear-off slip and enter the flu vaccine code at a later stage.
But entering this data was very labour-intensive, so that in a practice the size of Summercroft, with 12,000 patients, it took approximately 40 hours per year; the process was also vulnerable to human error.
To improve the speed and accuracy of the process, Dr Mark Essop and his team decided to add a barcode representing the patient's NHS number to the tear-off slip.
They bought a cheap barcode scanner and used it to scan all of the NHS numbers into a spreadsheet.
The process of scanning the barcodes and creating the lists took about two hours for approximately 2,000 patients over three clinics.
This enabled them to use the new facility on EMIS Web that allows the importation of a list of patients identified by their NHS number.
Once the list has been imported, codes can be automatically added in a batch to all patients on the list - which took 30 minutes.
Dr Essop said: 'By creating this process, we believe we achieved greater accuracy and faster data entry, and saved significantly on staff costs. The process could easily be replicated by many other practices.'
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