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Accurx Plus: Patient Triage
Patient Triage
Total Triage
Stage 2: Prepare your practice and your patients
Stage 2: Prepare your practice and your patients
Kate Sorotos avatar
Written by Kate Sorotos
Updated over a week ago

Effective training and integration into practice workflows will help prepare your practice for success.

This section will take you through the following steps to successfully prepare your practice and patients ahead of going live.

  1. Clear your backlog

  2. Workflows and standard procedures

  3. Prepare your team

  4. Communicate with your patients

Clear your backlog

To have a positive start to your new model, it is crucial to clear the backlog.

Start pushing out your routine appointments around your chosen go-live week where possible. You need an appointment book which has lots of bookable space and fewer blocks for routine, for the first week in particular.

Click here for some suggestions ๐Ÿ’ก

  1. Week 1 of go-live is mainly free for acute, Week 2 will include a better balance of routine and acute, and Week 3: you should have settled into your โ€œidealโ€ set-up.

  2. As you settle into this routine, you may want to save the first half of the morning for routine and move towards acute by the end of the morning clinic, this means that you have time to fill your appointment book throughout the day from inbound requests.

  3. Do you have access to any ARRS roles to support with triage?

Workflows and standard procedures

Appointment book set-up

Setting up your system will require some prep work. You will need to spend some time looking at the appointments you have available and work out how embargos should work on your system.

You will want to ensure you have sufficient appointments available (i.e. same day, 2 weeks, 4 weeks etc).

  1. Take a 2-week block on your system.

  2. Go through these past appointments so you have a really clear idea of your routine vs on-the-day split.

  3. Determine the time needed for triage per clinician.

  4. Determine how many appointments are needed to meet the practicesโ€™ needs.

Some practices find it helpful to front-load appointment books so that the highest number of appointments are made available on a Monday.

It is worth considering creating a number of dedicated Self-Book slots to alleviate some work for your reception staff. Making early-morning slots โ€˜book in advanceโ€™ is a useful way to prevent the early morning pressure to fulfil appointments.

Utilising Self-Book is also helpful for your practiceโ€™s QOF funding!

Team setup

At this point, you have a clear vision and youโ€™ve introduced the concept to your team! Now to work out how this will look in your practice.

Weโ€™ve mapped out a couple of common examples of team setup from practices in the drop-downs below.

Ultimately, others have found that practices see the biggest benefit when there is clinical involvement in the triaging process. You may want to base your practice workflow around one of these.

Clinician-led triage - An example from Carshalton Fields Surgery ๐Ÿฅ

How can care navigators support? - An example from Wilmslow Health Centre ๐Ÿฅ

Urgent doctor vs. routine triage - Examples from Manor Surgery ๐Ÿฅ

Safety netting & triage protocol

You will need to spend some time creating standard operating protocols that are embedded across the practice.

Remember, one major benefit of getting all requests in the same inbox is that you can use templates and Floreys to proactively address the themes you're spotting in your patient population, helping to best prioritise these into appointments if needed. Hopefully, youโ€™ll notice some quick wins which you can close completely remotely.

๐Ÿ“ Task: Create your own protocols and flowcharts so everyone in your team is clear on how youโ€™re going to work.

๐Ÿ“ Task: Have a think about the teams you may like to help you operate the inbox as efficiently as possible. Please let know if we can add any team that isnโ€™t there!

Prepare the team

Practice set-up

Setting your practice up in an appropriate way can help ensure you meet success. For example, restructuring your practice, and allowing for a dedicated triage room can be very helpful. One of our total triage practices mentioned...

"Having the team upstairs that knows the rota and sit with the doctors is great. Constant updates all the time, constant feedback loop. Need to understand the whole system and not just individual part." - The Manor Surgery, Oxford.

Train your practice staff

The final step before going live - training the team!

Click here for some tips on training the team ๐Ÿง 

๐Ÿ‹๏ธ Hold internal training sessions. Ensure that practice staff understand the new way of working and are comfortable with their day-to-day responsibilities.

๐Ÿ‹๏ธ Make sure your practice staff are triaging in the same way. Allow open conversation and collaboration over requests.

๐Ÿ‹๏ธ Educate your reception staff on how to communicate the message to patients. Some practices have found it useful to use a script on reception to standardise their messaging. Take a look at an example script to use on reception here.

๐Ÿ‹๏ธ Role switch to get a mutual understanding. Set up a clinic during protected learning time to test run total triage and allow clinicians to spend some time understanding the responsibilities of admin staff.

๐Ÿ‹๏ธ Involve trainees and medical students with triage.

๐Ÿ“ Task: Create some example requests for your practice and practice triaging. Submit them via Reception Flow linked to a test patient and have a go at working through them as a team.

Communicate with your patients ๐Ÿ“ฃ

It will be your practiceโ€™s responsibility to communicate the change to your patients.

Practices we have worked with have identified a number of methods to help get patients on board.

You now have NEW materials to communicate total triage with your patients!

1๏ธโƒฃ A printable A2 poster or A5 flyer detailing how patients can contact the surgery. Post these up in your waiting room, or keep the flyers handy at reception to share with your patients.

2๏ธโƒฃ An animation video detailing the changes in how the practice deals with requests. Put this on your website, social media pages or practice screens.

3๏ธโƒฃ Frequently Asked Questions on the new way of contacting your surgery. Link the article directly in your website, batch messages or use it as a template for your own FAQs.

4๏ธโƒฃ Why not share the animation or the FAQs in a Batch Message? ๐Ÿ‘‡

Beat the queues by contacting us online using the following link: [link to your Patient Triage form], also available on our website and the NHS App.

For more information on ways you can contact the surgery visit:

Expand the sections below to see some more examples of patient-facing comms:

๐Ÿ“ฑ Post about it on your social media

Here is an example from a practice in Malvern of patient-facing comms:

Or, why not post the demo below on your socials to demonstrate how to submit a medical request using Patient Triage? ๐Ÿ‘€

โ˜Ž๏ธ Update your phone message and direct patients to your patient triage form

Take a look at these phone message templates to help you get started:

Automated Phone Message (pre-go-live)

From the {Insert date here}, {Practice Name} will be changing the way we offer appointments. We will be moving to an online system where our clinicians will triage all appointment requests, ensuring that you are seen by the most appropriate clinician in a timely manner. We hope that this will help make better use of the appointments we have available.

We will be asking all patients to complete an online Patient Triage form which can be found on our website at {website URL}. We will then contact you with either advice or an appointment where appropriate.

The fastest way to get help from a clinician is by submitting an online form yourself or asking a family member to do so on your behalf. You can use this form to contact us about anything you'd normally call us about.

If you are unable to do this, then our reception team will be able to complete the form on your behalf before it is looked at by our triage clinician.

Automated Phone Message (post go-live)

The fastest way to get help from a clinician is by submitting an online Patient Triage form. Please visit our website at {website URL} to access the request form. You can use this form to contact us with any medical or admin requests.

Please hold if you wish to speak to a receptionist to; be sent a link to our online form, complete the form on your behalf.

For prescription requests please submit an online Patient Triage form. For test results, please call after {insert time}.

๐Ÿ“ˆ Use flyers and visual aids throughout the practice

๐ŸŒ Optimise your website

๐Ÿ“น Create a short video to demonstrate the new ways of working

We also have a downloadable poster and leaflet to show patients how quick and easy it is to get in touch using Patient Triage.

Download your copy of these NEW patient-facing resources โžก๏ธ here

โ€‹Stage 1: Getting ready to go live with total triage!

โ˜‘๏ธ Set your practice goals

โ˜‘๏ธ Identify your champions

โ˜‘๏ธ Communicate your vision

โ˜‘๏ธ Choose your date

Stage 2: Prepare your practice & your patients

If you still have any questions or concerns, feel free to chat with us using the green message bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of this page. ๐Ÿ‘‰

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