Michele Web

Building trust with Lambeth Patient Online

May 16, 2016

Michele Izzo, Director South East Lambeth Healthcare, talks about Patient Online and the need to grow acceptance and trust in the system.

For many years now it has been known as the ‘8am rush’. Patients wanting to see their GP felt they had only one course of action to see their doctor – join a telephone gridlock, or walk to their surgery as soon as it opened and queue up at reception to fix an appointment later that day.

For the past four years doctors’ surgeries have been given the means and support to help patients make bookings online, receive test results and access their medical records via their computer, smartphone or iPad.

This plethora of online services ends the ‘battle of the switchboard’ and the perennial queue, or has it?  

Michele Izzo, Director South East Lambeth Healthcare, one of the key people behind a new campaign to promote the importance of Patient Online, believes that patients, GPs and surgery support staff are still nervous because they don’t really understand that it doesn’t restrict other options and means of access.

“There is definitely a knowledge gap which training will help to fill in,” says Michele.

“From a patient perspective, although there have been many early adopters, some are still nervous and don’t realise how easy the system can be,” says Michele.

“The reality is that once passwords have been set up and an app uploaded it is just a case of a simple series of click-throughs.”

Michele maintains Patient Online is helping to make life easier for patients and GPs alike, taking the hassle out of the health service, giving people the option to book their consultations, order their repeat prescriptions, view their test results, thereby removing unnecessary stress and bureaucracy.

Some of the principal concerns and misconceptions related to the process of booking and what is perceived to be a potential swamping of a surgery’s scheduling system.

“There’s an incredible amount of flexibility built into the system,” says Michele.

“There’s an incredible amount of flexibility built into the system,” says Michele. “Some practices can allow patients to book only a single appointment at a time, or alternatively one might choose to, for example, make only routine appointments available online so that you retain greater control of booking for urgent slots. Additionally, one can decide to make only regular patients, or alternatively, all patients of your patients can be opened up to online booking services.”

The transparency of the system is key explains Michele. “As soon as a slot is booked by any means, it becomes unavailable in both the patient view, and receptionist, when viewing online. The system offers incredible access at all levels.”

Above and beyond the need to understand the system and to thoroughly train all users, Michele emphasizes the need for GPs and practice teams to engage thoroughly with their patient participation group in order to make certain as much consultation has been conducted before using the system.

“GPs really need to consider the involvement of their patient participation group when designing the system,” says Michele.