16 February 2023

All 25 GP practices across south east Hampshire which signed up to use a machine which speeds up vital health checks for patients are now using the system.

Most GP practices in Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Waterlooville, Petersfield and the east Hampshire areas are now using the innovative SurgeryPods technology as part of a £390,000 five-year investment.

SurgeryPod, from Microtech Health, was introduced last September and is an easy-to-use secure computer system which accurately records patient data and takes readings, such as weight and blood pressure measurements.

SurgeryPods enable patients - without clinical supervision or having to make an appointment - to perform their own checks and the information is instantaneously and securely updated into their medical records and can be immediately viewed by doctors and nurses.

This means that when they start their face-to-face consultation, the patient’s doctor will already have this key information giving them more time to discuss your health.

And, although the scheme is in its early days the signs are positive that it is proving an effective tool for doctors and other health staff which is also freeing up their time to see the patients who would most benefit from their skills.

New figures from the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight show that in the last twelve-week period for which figures are available, patients used SurgeryPods more than 5,000 times.

Of the 5,060 uses, 591 were at Solent View, Lee-on-Solent; 448 at Gudge Health Lane, Fareham; and 383 at Highlands, Fareham – each one saving an estimated ten minutes for the health assistant, nurse or GP who would otherwise have done them.

Some 2,401 of the uses were for patients taking a single blood pressure reading (a drop of 141 on the previous three months) and 1,397 for three blood pressure readings – an increase of 607. Contraceptive pill checks, alcohol use, physical health reviews, smoking, annual asthma checks and new patient checks were the other main SurgeryPod uses.

Figures show that SurgeryPods are most used by people aged 45-74, then the 25-44 age category, with under 17a and over 85s using them least. They are also used by more women than men.

Using a formula based on the average pay of GPs, nurses, and health assistants, it has been estimated that SurgeryPods saved a notional £19,000 in clinical staff time at the participating practices in last three-month period.

The figure would have been higher if the usage was higher – and the December figures accounted for less than 2% of the total usage over the twelve weeks mainly due to high rates of flu, COVID-19 and respiratory infections, which affected staffing levels at GP practices as well as patient visits.

People use the touch-screen instructions in 19 languages to log on and are guided through the process to record their information one step at a time.

Fareham area GP Dr Ros Sexton, who features in an ICB video to promote SurgeryPods, said: “SurgeryPods are achieving their aim by offering patients more flexibility and allowing them to pop into their own surgery for a range of health checks without the need to book an appointment.

“This helps the GP’s and nurses give safe care to these patients whilst  also saving clinical time so that we can see others patients that need to be seen face to face. In the current climate when demand is outstripping capacity, this is very important.”

To see the video, click here.

You might also be interested in...