Cut Appointment Times by 45%
Based in Bridgwater in Somerset, The New East Quay Medical Centre is typical of many modern surgeries. It has 8 GP Partners, 1 Managing Partner, a Practice Manager, 3 Nurse Practitioners, 4 Practice Nurses and 3 Healthcare Assistants – all of whom support some 13,500 patients across the local area.
As with most surgeries, East Quay Medical Centre carries out patient tests which are sent to the local laboratory for analysis. This process used to involve the doctor or nurse filling out the patient details on both a card and a label that are attached to the sample bag and the sample tube. The local laboratory at Musgrove Park Hospital often found it difficult to read the handwriting or found that some important details were missing. This either resulted in huge amount of time being wasted trying to locate the individual on the LIMS or in the creation of a new record – thus resulting in many duplicates, making data retrieval difficult.
Looking for a solution the local laboratory worked with the local Informatics team to pilot in practices – including East Quay Medical Centre - the use of printed labels. LabelTrace provided an easy to use labelling system comprising LabelTrace software and a compact Zebra LP2824 barcode label printer that prints two types of labels – one to go onto the card and another that has two identical labels that can be separated easily along a perforation for labelling tubes.
This eliminated the need for surgery staff to hand write labels altogether, thereby making it far quicker for laboratory staff to log the sample into the lab on the LIMS and avoid the creation of duplicate patient records.
The LabelTrace solution was provided by healthcare and data specialists Codegate, who initially installed four LabelTrace printers for East Quay Medical Centre as part of the pilot. LabelTrace integrates with most popular GP clinical systems – an essential feature for practices.
Rachel Stark, Practice Manager comments "We had reviewed alternative labelling systems in the past but none seemed to link effectively with our clinical IT system. LabelTrace links seamlessly with EMIS eliminating any need for surgery staff to key in the details to go onto the label."
LabelTrace operates directly on the patient data held in the practice's clinical system and is available directly from the consulting screen.
Within hours of the trial it was immediately apparent that the LabelTrace system was going to be a huge timesaver for both the surgery staff and the lab. There was virtually no training needed as the equipment was very easy to use. An email with instructions was all that was required.
Rachel Stark comments "The almost automatic process in printing labels means time taken to add details to the form is reduced dramatically. This means that the doctor, nurse or HCA can spend more time with the patient. Typically, blood tests were taking an average of 10 minutes per patient but a significant period of this appointment was spent completing the forms by hand. With LabelTrace form filling has meant that there is less time pressure on the appointment. For us this has meant this time can be used to carry out other useful patients checks – for example data collection for QOF targets. We have also considered reducing appointments for blood tests to 7.5 or even 5 minutes."
As a result of the highly successful trial East Quay Medical Centre started to think about other areas of the practice that could benefit from LabelTrace. It has now purchased a further 12 LabelTrace printers, which Rachel installed herself.
As well as these being used for all possible forms and paperwork that require patients' details – i.e. private service forms such as insurance claims and sick notes - the practice also use them for forms the patient has to complete and return to the surgery. By using pre-printed labels processing time is saved once the form is received back as it is easier to read and completed fully.
Rachel Stark concludes "The LabelTrace system has proved to be hugely popular with all the staff at East Quay Medical Centre. The printers take up very little space on the desk and are very reliable. Codegate were quick to resolve a small problem we had during installation with the interface with EMIS as they have excellent understanding of the clinical IT systems. With Codegate and LabelTrace we now have a solution that is saving us huge amounts of time and is helping both our surgery and the laboratory to create a unified system for primary care."
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Codegate is expert at making information instantly available at the point of activity, and has developed application-specific solutions designed to increase workforce productivity and efficiency.
Codegate specialises in the provision of mobile enterprise solutions with particular focus in the transport, warehouse logistics and mobile workforce markets. This includes a "full service" offering from functional specification through to design, production, implementation and maintenance of robust mobile computing and wireless technology solutions. A Codegate solution combines rugged hand-held computers and mobile barcode printers sourced from the worlds leading manufacturers, with off the shelf and bespoke software for mobile solutions.
Codegate is a privately owned company with a head office in Oxfordshire, and is an ISO9000:2000 certified company, with customers across the UK and Europe.
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