How a GP practice saved 7 hours a day on admin with paperless technology

The Ash Trees Surgery in Carnforth, Lancashire, implemented the Docman GP system to streamline its administration processes, writes data team leader Lisa Jones.

Our practice of 13 GPs employs three nurse practitioners, six nurses and 13 administrators, serving a list of 15,000 patients. We introduced Docman with EMIS Web, which has streamlined working processes and improved data quality, helping to maximise QOF points and free healthcare professionals to concentrate on patient care.

We estimate to have saved 7 hours per day in staff time by using Docman over a paper process, which enables the practice to manage the ever-increasing workload to the highest standards.

There are several key areas where we have utilised different features of the Docman package to improve our practice administration systems.

Our local acute trust has a Docman Hub so our letters are received electronically and pulled into Docman automatically using EDT Connect. We have this running every 15 minutes so that letters are continuously dropping into the system.


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This has eliminated any backlog of documents, ensures we are up to date with all patient episodes, and means we can turn things around within hours.

For hard copy documents, letters are scanned and we use Intellisense to pick out the key information needed to file the document. Intellisense is a clinical content recognition system that automatically detects patient and filing details, significantly improving the speed and data quality of filing into the patient’s clinical record. As a result we have no problems with QOF and are 100% confident that our data and codes are correct.

Controlling workflow

Two years ago we upgraded to iWorkflow, an intelligent ‘action-based’ workflow system and single-click platform, saving time for GPs and practice staff. We estimate that this has saved everyone in our practice at least 2 or 3 mouse clicks for each document.

We have set-up various quick steps and comments that combine actions and clicks into one click. This means we spend less time on administration processes and our workflow process for patient letters is streamlined.

Some of our comments and quick steps include ‘satisfactory result’, ‘med change’ and ‘coded’. We also have quick steps such as ‘make an appointment’, ‘no action required’, ‘coded to GP’, ‘not coded’, which have all been automated to reduce the number of clicks we have to make.

Replacing our old intranet

We now use Docman BackOffice as a secure intranet and content management system for non-clinical information, which keeps everything organised and up to date, as well as providing an audit trail of any changes.

Collaborating internally and externally

The Collaborator functionality has provided an audited discussion platform, enabling the practice to manage, share and discuss information securely. We use it as a referral peer review tool and for managing locums. This enables our GPs to review other GPs’ referrals and it’s easy to manage when GPs are on holiday.

We have a full audit to show the CCG, and the information can be used in training exercises. We are now planning to use Collaborator more and more as a platform for managing projects, staff and information.

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