Getting back to core business

Written by Kim Poyner

March 21, 2022

What we have managed well

Kudos to you for all that you have achieved over the past two years of pandemic life! There have been incredible adaptions like we have never seen before in general practice, for example:

  • Drive through Flu vaccine clinics
  • QR coding
  • Sneeze screens
  • Triage for COVID
  • Immunisation roll outs
  • Telehealth workflows
  • Team A and Team B adaptations

As the country opens up again, we are seeing workforce shortages and the impact on staff from the COVID-required changes in the way we once worked in general practice. Once, we would have accepted the idea of “soldier on” throughout the winter months, and during flu season, so as to not put pressure on fellow staff. Now we have adapted to the model of working remotely when symptoms arise to prevent the spread and to keep our workplaces and air quality safe for our communities.

Where do we focus now?

Now is the time to again be pro-active, even in the midst of environmental impacts such as floods and fire – our thoughts are with everyone affected by these during this challenging time. So, how can we harness enthusiasm again for our chronic disease management, cancer screening and preventative activities – the core business of general practices?

During the Practice Coach Summit – Practice Thriving, Chris Smeed gave us some data tips – for example, look for 1B and 2A tiered patients for COVID Immunisation delivery. They are a priority to kick start Chronic Disease Management. If you haven’t utilized a disease register before to assist you with chronic disease reviews this may be a great time to start one, particularly if you have kept a list of those 1B and 2A patients.

Next check Proda, for the stage of Chronic Disease Management those patients are at. Some may need a new plan and team Care arrangements or even a review. Has the patient had ECG, Doppler or Spirometry? These are all activities that a reception team can assist with. Then start booking patients in with the nursing team to perform any overdue care planning to work towards building up the health of your local community.

The next decision is how best to provide this service to protect both you and your vulnerable patients. Are you going to provide most of the consultations via telehealth including GP care planning? Or are you going to provide blended telehealth and face to face planning and care. To aid your decision here, be sure to consider factors such as the digital capacity of the patient, air safety for your staff and access and equity for our patients.

Be agile in your service delivery

There is no single best way forward here – ultimately, you may decide to provide a blended model of face to face and virtual consultations, alternating chronic disease reviews between a face to face consultation to gather biometrics every 6 months and virtual consultations for the 3 monthly care plan reviews.

Kim Poyner


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