Merged appointment books – a small, but mighty, new innovation

Launching just in time for Flu 21, myGP will start to support ‘merged appointment books’.

This is a small innovation with a big impact which will benefit patients and practices alike

Let’s start with the patients.

In the past, total appointments visible to patients was dependent on practices’ platform preferences. Access to additional booking slots, which had been specifically set up for myGP users, was reliant on the practice being one of the thousands subscribed to the myGP Platform. Without this, patients would see the same appointment schedule as that offered by Patient Access, SystmOne Online or the NHS App.

myGP’s merged appointment book functionality has streamlined the booking system and shares a more accurate picture of practice availability with patients. Bookable appointments which have been set up generically across all patient facing services (GPSoC) are now displayed online alongside appointments set up specifically for myGP. Duplicate appointments, which would previously have appeared on different platforms, are now merged to avoid patient confusion.

From a patient perspective, this innovation enhances the booking experience by displaying a maximum of bookable slots

But the benefit for practices and commissioners are far greater.

  • Uniquely in British healthcare, myGP allows practices to select and invite specific patients to book specific appointments. We call this functionality call/recall and it is in full display during flu season with large, but targeted, patient cohorts. Practices can create bespoke, appointment slots which are hidden to patients outside the selected group.SMS messaging or myGP in-app messaging is then used to invite ‘at risk’ patients to book. The adjustable timing of these appointments makes them ideal for flu season, with short slots maximising the daily number of patients who can receive their flu vaccination.
  • Another great benefit is that practices can manage general online appointment availability across all assured patient facing apps in one place. This saves time, improves quality and the patient experience. In addition to this, a move to merged appointment books will see significant cost-savings for practices who previously favoured alternative patient-facing services. All patients registered with the myGP app, currently over 2.3 million, will be sent appointment reminders via free and secure data messaging, creating substantial savings for practices’ rapidly growing text messaging bills.
  • In addition to improving the patient experience, saving on text messaging costs, and enabling streamlined patient invitation and booking for seasonal flu immunisation, , myGP also support patient self-tracking for blood pressure, weight, and medical adherence and persistence. These services, currently used by over 20,000 people, are offered at no cost to support our NHS colleagues and  contribute to the continued improvement of selfcare and patient health.

We are looking forward to working with our practices to roll out merged appointment books functionality to optimise it to the specific needs that they may have.

Many thanks, and take care,