Southport & Formby Health

Paul Ashby is a Director for Southport and Formby Health Limited; a GP Provider organisation owned by 14 independent GP practices covering approximately 95,000 patients. Paul has also been Practice Manager at Ainsdale Medical Centre for the past seven years and is responsible for the operational and strategic leadership of the practice, which looks after over 12,500 patients across the area. With a wealth of experience leading teams through periods of significant change, Paul talks about his involvement in implementing Clarity’s TeamNet and how the organisation uses the platform.

In my role, I am responsible for the smooth running of my practice, which means that I am continuously on the lookout for solutions to increase productivity, boost efficiencies and perhaps most importantly, reduce variation in the way our patients access care both within the practice and with other providers, such as hospitals and community services.

Within my practice and the wider federation, we had processes in place that were inefficient at managing compliance and letting staff access information quickly and easily. One area we could see needed immediate improvement was our method of communicating with staff. Communications were frequently being sent from outside organisations such as the C.C.G. and healthcare providers to individual GP practices and this information would then have to be uploaded to our practice intranet to be accessed by staff members. Typically, these were sent via the Practice Manager to pass-on and this created a bottle-neck. Consequently, information was not always shared on time. We needed a solution that would streamline this process and would allow information to be relayed efficiently in a way that was instantly searchable when people needed it.

We first came across Clarity’s TeamNet 18 months ago through a recommendation in a Facebook group. After some initial research, we met with the Clarity team, who then hosted a web sharing session to showcase the functionality of the platform and its benefits to members of staff. Almost all the practices in the Federation have adopted the platform as their knowledge management and practice management tool now. Its functionality extends across an incredibly wide area of separate practice management processes.

We were attracted to the platform’s powerful search ability, which allowed staff to find information efficiently. From NICE guidelines, to training documents, to staff notices, staff could access all information quickly from one central location. Documents only have to be uploaded and shared once, helping to consolidate tasks, streamline processes and reduce unnecessary admin.

Having one platform to use also created a familiar look and feel for users. This helped to accelerate learning amongst staff and is especially powerful with an increasing number of sessional GPs and other clinicians working across multiple member practices.

TeamNet proved particularly invaluable when the GP Federation won the local bid arising from a national mandate to extend the opening hours of GPs on weekends and evenings (a new service we called Seven-day GP). We needed to implement a communications strategy to train staff on the new working hours and protocols for signposting patents into the new service, in particular the 160+ reception staff working across the area. We created training videos with step by step guidance on how to use the new service and how reception staff could use our existing EMIS system to book their patients into the service. We shared the content quickly and easily with all practices via TeamNet and were able to target Practice Managers and reception staff in particular. Within two weeks every practice had patients that had used the Extended Access GP service and there were much lower than expected errors in booking appointments in appropriately.

The real beauty of TeamNet is that it connects people inside and outside of our Practices, and allows for true collaboration amongst medical professionals – all to the benefit of the patient. We are now seeing the emergence of Primary Care Networks which will in the near future see local practices working together with each other and hospital and community services to provide more integrated care. Without a doubt, TeamNet delivers a significant advantage in facilitating this new collaboration. I am delighted with what I have seen with TeamNet so far, and cannot wait to see how the platform evolves and grows in the years to come.