GP case study: Rheumatology
Dr Weaver works at Grove Surgery in Somerset CCG. He has been a GP for one year and uses the Consultant Connect App to speak to Consultants at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Before using the Consultant Connect App, Dr Weaver says that he would get specialist advice using the telephone “often waiting on hold” or would “just refer.”
He finds the Consultant Connect App to be a better tool for the following reasons:
“[It gives] direct access to consultant level advice. It saves a huge amount of time both for GP (I am often able to sort a problem there and then during a consultation with the patient) and consultant (saves admin time answering advice and guidance letters or clinic slots for things that can be sorted over the phone).”
Dr Weaver provides the following advice to those who are thinking of using the app but who are unsure: “Give it a trial and you will see the benefits on day 1 for GPs, nurse practitioners, patients and secondary care. It has also increased my knowledge by getting instant feedback on challenging cases, when in the past I would not see a clinic letter for many weeks afterwards.”
Below is a recent example of how Dr Weaver has used the app to benefit a patient.
“I saw an elderly gentleman with symptoms suggestive of Polymyalgia Rheumatica, however it was an atypical presentation and I was concerned that I might be missing something (such as underlying cancer) and was not sure whether to initiate treatment or wait for further tests or refer, knowing that a referral could take several weeks. I called the Rheumatology team via the Consultant Connect App and was able to discuss the case in detail with the senior registrar who advised me what tests to organise and when to initiate treatment, as well as a detailed steroid reducing regime.”
How Phone A&G (via the app) helped:
“The registrar explained all the things that would have been arranged at the first clinic appointment, so I was able to get the ball rolling before the patient would be able to be seen at the clinic. This was a better outcome for the patient who was able to get the right treatment quickly.” Dr Weaver also commented that use of Phone Advice & Guidance left both him and the patient feeling “very satisfied with the outcome”.
Related case studies
Dr Barnes, a consultant in Sunderland, answers a Phone Advice & Guidance call and avoids an admission for an elderly patient.
NHS England has published a QIPP Case Study on our Phone Advice & Guidance project in North East Essex.
This feature, created by HSJ in co-operation with Luton & Dunstable University Hospital, shares key ingredients for meeting the Four-Hour A&E target successfully.
A GP in Southwark CCG uses Photo Advice & Guidance to get immediate A&G from the Dermatology Team at her local trust for a child with a body rash and a history of eczema.
For more information about how we work with commissioners, hospitals & mental health trusts to improve patient care, please get in touch.
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