Online appointments help streamline student health services

Over a third of appointments booked with the Sheffield University Health Service are made via Patient Access. With over 25,000 patients registered, this saves both the reception and medical staff valuable time and resources, and improves patient care.

Ben Hallsworth, Medical Records Summariser at the University Health Service, explains: "In the last twelve months, over 34% of our appointments have been booked online with Patient Access. That takes a massive strain off our reception team - particularly first thing in the morning when call volumes are high.

"Receiving fewer calls means the team have more time to conduct detailed interviews with those patients who need support most, for example those with more complex issues. In turn, this means that important information can be relayed to our clinicians ahead of patient appointments to ensure that consultations are as useful as possible for the patient."

The University Health Service has also found the online booking facility to be very popular with patients requiring clinic appointments. 50% of all appointments made for its diabetic clinic, and 34% made for its asthma clinic, are booked via Patient Access.

Ben said: "Patients with long-term conditions who attend our clinics really benefit from the Patient Access service. They need more regular, structured appointment schedules and so being able to book those in advance, from home or even on their mobile, really helps. We've had very positive feedback."

Patients with long-term conditions also benefit from the Patient Access pre-registration facility used by the University Health Service.

"Every year around 5000 new students register with us", explained Ben. "With Patient Access, the majority of registration admin can be done online before they even arrive which saves huge amounts of time and paper!

"It also enables us to identify, in advance, those patients likely to need additional support throughout their time at university. Last year alone we identified 59% of our intake that would benefit from extra help, ranging from those who had mental or physical health conditions, to those who may benefit from health intervention activity such as smoking cessation or weight-loss advice. We were able to contact these students accordingly in their very first week to ensure they had a healthy start to their studies."

Release date 14 August 2013