Cumbria Sexual Health Service (CSHS) can now offer patients the ability to book appointments online. The move is part of an initiative designed to improve access and reduce pressure on clinic staff.
The sexual health team have worked together alongside an online booking platform to create the system for patients to be able to book their own appointments.
David Morris Cumbria Sexual Health outreach worker explained: “Creating a platform for patients to securely book appointments online has been part of strategic plans to enhance patient access and reduce pressure on clinic staff for some time. As with all sexual health providers, Covid-19 has heightened pressure on our services and prompted us to fast-track the implementation of online booking and testing in a bid to free-up precious resource and safeguard patient experience, while promoting better health outcomes.
During the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, CSHS implemented a number of operational changes in order to respond to clinic closures, staff re-deployment and the need to mitigate risk of Covid-19 transmission. Key to this was offering video and telephone consultations and creating a centralised switchboard to receive telephone appointment bookings for clinics.
Taking upwards of 140 calls per day, the service needed to reduce pressure on reception staff, to find a way an appointment could easily be booked, whilst effectively increasing capacity for reception staff to focus on supporting delivery of appropriate care, treatment, patient support and guidance.
Sexual Health services already used a system to support some aspects of the service and therefore have now expanded the system – called Inform Health - to offer patients online booking.
David added: “Once patients have a choice to book appointments online, we anticipate that calls to the switchboard will reduce by around half. As patient needs and expectations change, it is important sexual health services like ours keep pace. Partnering with Inform Health helps us to operate efficiently and ensure patient access, experience and health outcomes remain at the heart of all we do.”
Patients can register on the online booking platform and go through an intuitive and intelligent triage process which, based on their responses, determines the care the patient needs and offers an appointment that precisely matches that need. For time sensitive services or those requiring specialist support or intervention, signposting including emergency contact numbers will be presented to the patient and they will also offer a call back service where appropriate.
Click here to book an appointment – https://www.ncic.nhs.uk/services/sexual-health