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As part of CATALYST, a career development programme for new to practice GPs, participants were encouraged to undertake a quality improvement (QI) project.

QI project
Process mapping

They used a prioritisation matrix to rank their ideas. This is a structured visual tool that can help someone to decide which improvement ideas to test first, according to the work involved and the potential impact. Recording their plans in a QI workbook, they used a simple framework for improvement, process mapping, to focus their plans for maximum impact.

Recognising a rise in consultation rates regarding menopausal symptoms, one group of GPs decided to focus their QI project on this area, with the aim of improving patient access and engagement with reliable information about the menopause. Working collaboratively, they determined what resources would be best to share with patients to inform them about the menopause and help them to actively participate in discussions about diagnosis and management.

They designed a text message to be sent to patients who contacted the surgery to book an appointment about possible menopause symptoms. This contained links to an explanatory video and information leaflet.

 

As an outcome of this simple intervention, they recorded a significant fall in the number of consultations required by patients to discuss menopause symptoms prior to starting treatment. For instance, prior to the intervention, 21% of patients were prescribed HRT during their first consultation about the menopause. This rose to 86% following the intervention.

Text message
Infographic

This project highlights how a simple intervention can have multiple positive impacts. Patients benefited from early access to reliable information to inform discussions during consultations and had to attend fewer appointments. This benefited the practice, by making more appointments available to help meet patient demand.

 

  • Is this something you could implement in your practice?

 

  • Has it sparked any other ideas about how text messages could improve the patients’ journey and reduce appointment demand?

This quality improvement project was performed by Lowri Mawer, Emily Atkins, Colette Robin, Carol Ng, Feyijimi Falemara, Jon Onaji

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