Management of Medical Correspondence – The ‘CorrespondencePlus™’ Programme

 Introduction

In most Practices, the GP typically sees the vast majority of clinical correspondence that enters the Practice, and then sends it  back out to the most appropriate member of the Practice team for further action as required.

Much of this correspondence (up to 80%) does not need to be seen by the GP and can be more effectively and safely dealt with by another member of the Practice team, saving up to 45 minutes of GP consultation time as a result.

Under the Management of Medical Correspondence programme, members of the Practice’s Admin team are trained to code the clinical correspondence and distribute it to members of the Practice team in accordance with agreed protocols.

Given the Win-Win nature of such an arrangement, it is not surprising therefore that the Management of Medical Correspondence has been identified by NHS England as one of its Ten High Impact Actions that can transform General Practice as part of the GP Forward View strategy.

Ring-fenced funding has been allocated to CCGs in 2017/18 to allow every Practice in England to carry out training to introduce Management of Clinical correspondence.

The ‘CorrespondencePlus’ Programme for Management of Medical Correspondence

Our CorrespondencePlus Programme has been developed and conducted by highly experienced Practice Managers. The Programme comprises a full day Workshop with nominated Practice Admin staff, followed by extensive consultancy and support to help the GP and Admin team members introduce the programme to the Practice as efficiently as possible.

The broad agenda of the Workshop includes:

Morning 

  • Over-view of the concept and purpose of medical records
  • Introduction to the relevant legislation; Data Protection, Access to Health Records Act, IG, Caldecott, ICO etc.
  • Overview of basic construct and purpose of Clinical coding – data quality, audit, etc.
  • Introduction to SNOMED CT: Features, Components, Characteristics and Products
  • SNOWMED CT architecture and terminology: Concepts, Descriptions and Relationships
  • Practical use – coding medical history, problems, significant medical history, allergies & intolerances, etc.
  • Summary Care Record, GP2GP
  • Summarising medical notes

Afternoon

  • Workflow and document management practise
  • Urgent, Admin, Clinical /non clinical correspondence etc.
  • Signposting and the triage of documents
  • Overview of above processes on EMIS , Vision and SystmOne
  • Questions and Next Steps

Ongoing Consultancy and Support

DNA Insight provides 12 months of ongoing telephone support and documentation to trained Coders to help them embed the Correspondence Management philosophy in the Practice and to support GPs who are introducing the concept.

Once the Admin team member has been trained in how to code the incoming correspondence and filter the paperwork to the most appropriate recipient, the Supported GPs and the Coder need to work together to implement the Management protocols. DNA Insight provides a full Implementation Guide, extensive handouts and aides memoire, as well as providing a Help Line telephone number to answer any queries. Implementation is best done in three stages and should always be supervised by the Practice Manager and Lead GP:

Stage 1

In Stage 1, the GPs decide which correspondence, of that they currently receive, can definitely be redirected safely to a more appropriate member of the Practice team. This is the starting situation and the Admin team member can go ahead and implement this without further guidance.

Stage 2

Over the next two weeks or so, the GPs keep a list on their desk and mark down any additional correspondence types which they consider need not come across their desk. At the end of the selected period, the Coder collates the lists from each relevant GP and a review meeting is held with all GPs and the Coder to determine whether there is consensus, and if so, which additional correspondence can additionally be redirected safely by the Coder.

For this additional correspondence, the GPs may assign restrictive criteria to certain of the correspondence types. The types of correspondence and any restrictive criteria are entered into the Coder’s protocol document (which we provide) and this becomes the master document for determining which correspondence can safely be handled by other members of the Practice Team.

Stage 3

At regular intervals, the GP, Practice Manager and Admin team should conduct an audit of a number of items of correspondence to track the item’s route through the Practice system to ensure that the Coding is working effectively and safely.

Custom versions of the CorrespondencePlus™ Programme

for other members of the Practice

CorrespondencePlus™ for GPs and Practice Managers
We provide an introductory half day workshop for
Practice Managers and GPs to introduce them to
the concept of document management and coding
of Medical correspondence. The Workshop is based
on the CorrespondencePlus™ Programme and focuses
specifically on how to successfully introduce a Coding
regime to the Practice. The Workshop covers the
oversight requirements, protocols and management
of Administrative staff coding the correspondence,
the governance and management of the programme
and the audit process to ensure the programme
works effectively and safely.

CorrespondencePlus™ for Administrative Staff with Coding experience
This half day workshop is designed specifically
for Administrative staff who already have a good
knowledge of coding, have been coding regularly
in their own Practice and do not need refresher
training. The Workshop focuses on how the Coder
can play their part in introducing a safe, robust and
effective coding regime to their Practice. It provides
all the guidance, advice and documentation needed
for them to support their GP and Practice Manager
in introducing the programme and realising the
associated benefits.

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