No more paper: OutsideClinic deploys digital messaging platform for secure and instant GP referrals

Published 11/04/2019 by Ric Thompson, Managing Director, Health & Care, Advanced

All paper-based referrals to be eliminated resulting in annual cost savings of £12,000 with digitally-driven approach for NHS partners and GPs

OutsideClinic, the UK’s largest and longest established national provider of home eye and hearing testing, has deployed an electronic transfer system to enable secure and instant referrals with its NHS partners and GPs. The solution from British technology provider Advanced – Docman Connect – enables online clinical communication between care settings delivered within a secure and structured messaging platform.

The firm will be saving around £12,000 on paper-based referrals annually as well as making significant time savings, driving major efficiencies to its NHS partners and GP surgeries. For OutsideClinic, which processes around 100 referrals and notifications every day, there is no more time and money spent printing and posting each referral. While for the GP, it means no manual postage sorting or time is spent matching referral letters with patients.

OutsideClinic uses Docman Connect to send referrals to GPs instantly, which can also include hi-resolution photographic retinal images, delivering higher quality than the previous method of printing and sending in the post. This implementation also ensures that important clinical documents are sent and received safely and securely with a full audit trail.

Richard Gibson, Operations Director at OutsideClinic, commented: “With aspirations to be a digitally-led business, it is important for us to streamline our GP referral process – not only for the benefit of GPs and NHS partners but patients too. A digital solution that enables us to easily and quickly transition from paper to electronic documents is therefore paramount. However, as with any patient-facing organisation, dealing with an ever increasing number of referrals, all of which contain vital, sensitive information, poses a challenge. It meant we needed to incorporate a comprehensive system would ensure patient confidentiality and security.

“Docman is the ideal solution for us. It means our patient data is secure, the referral process is much more streamlined – providing an instant record of our clinicians’ findings and concerns – and GP time is spent focusing on referral content rather than matching physical records with patients. This joined-up, digital approach is a real time and cost saver.”

Ric Thompson, Managing Director of Health and Care at Advanced, concluded: “The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January this year, highlights the importance of technology in the future of the NHS. External partners, such as OutsideClinic, have a key role to play in its digitisation and the deployment of Docman Connect means that our latest customer is able to complement those important NHS Digital strategies.

“OutsideClinic is a great example of how other health and care providers can use a digital messaging platform to benefit the NHS. Docman makes the ambition of helping GPs and clinicians become much more efficient and effective, through the use of technology, a reality.” 

OutsideClinic will be participating in Advanced’s webinar on 24th April 2019, which will highlight the benefits of online clinical communication between care settings that are delivered within the secure and structured messaging platform, Docman Connect. It will showcase and discuss the positive impact that such interoperable technology delivers to both support GP practices and ensure it adheres to the way CCGs define how healthcare providers send electronic clinical correspondence. To sign up for the webinar, please visit here.

Advanced’s health and care solutions are helping the NHS in transforming health and care through technology in line with the ‘NHS 5 Year Forward View’ and ‘NHS Digital Policy’. It continues to work in partnership with NHS England and NHS Digital.

Docman is the first choice for primary and secondary care providers looking to manage paperless clinical documents. Its technology is responsible for maintaining one billion detailed records and documents for over 40,000,000 patients in the UK, managing over 3,000,000 items of weekly patient correspondence.  

Founded in 1987 and based in Swindon, OutsideClinic has a team of more than 400 health care professionals and support staff. Its eye and ear specialists operate nationally, serving those who have difficulty accessing similar services from the high street.