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The Power of the letter

How a simple flu recall letter delivered a winter health check for patients and a ground breaking administration process.

Klaus Green works at The Mill Medical Practice, Godalming, Surrey. At a time when flu vaccinations are reportedly down, Mill Hill Practice has achieved a 79% take up level amongst the over 65s and 53% of 2-4 year old children, some of the best results in their Clinical Commissioning Group.

Klaus attributes their success to an innovative approach to the process and Docmail – a hybrid mail service.

Klaus says ‘ We started refining our approach four years ago. We began to use the EMIS search tools to cross check patients and establish lists of patients with the same vaccination requirements e.g. those that only need a flu vaccination and those that need a  “once only” pneumococcal vaccination to protect against the commonest strains of infection that cause pneumonia .We also look at patients eligible for Zostavax, and ended up with four different lists to which we can tailor our messages.

The letters are personally addressed  to each patient giving them information about why they need to attend and timings.

All the lists and the letter copy are set up on Docmail and the system prints, stuffs and delivers  the letters. All we do is press the buttons.

We invite patients to attend a one off flu clinic which is held on a Saturday morning. Time slots are allocated in blocks according to surname. It is a very streamlined with patients entering through the front entrance and then leaving by the back door.

The patient letter is not only the prompt to attend but it is also the administration document and includes everything we need for the process which means that we don’t have to do any computer look ups or cross checks on the day.

Once the patient has been vaccinated the letter they hand in is stickered with the relevant batch numbers and we also use the opportunity to check the patient’s smoking status and their blood pressure which is noted on the same document

On the Monday morning we record all the information on our system using an EMIS protocol and confirm uptake figures.

This year 15 staff at our Flu Clinic vaccinated 2,100 patients in one morning. Using Docmail each invitation costs less than a second class stamp, and we meet our contractual requirement to have a robust call and recall service for the clinic.

As well as good medicine, it’s also a good opportunity for teamwork within the practice as we pull together to deliver a service that the patients appreciate.”

To find out more about Docmail, visit: http://www.cfhdocmail.com/