General Practice workload measurement tools: Decision making support
The way in which practices set up their appointment systems, measure what they do and respond to patient demand and need is important to enable effective and equitable general practice access systems. The update to the GP contract agreement sets out ambitions for improving patients’ experience of accessing primary care and reducing waiting times for routine appointments.
Measuring access and activity in general practice is challenging. Reliable recording of activity is needed for robust data to understand practice workload to make improvements.
There are a range of workload measurement tools available to help practices extract their activity data from the clinical system and present this back in a meaningful way.
Using a workload measurement tool will help:
- Better understand activity data to deliver improvements and inform workforce needs.
- Help develop services at practice and PCN level that best meets patient and population health needs and deliver best value.
- Match capacity and resource to support effective and equitable access.
- Identify potential pressure points and flex capacity to times of peak demand.
- Plan best value deployment of staff members and skill mix.
- Meet national requirements for related metrics.
Workload tools are dependent on appointment categorisation for robust data. The General Practice Appointment Data (GPAD) is a nationally driven programme of mapping and collecting appointment data, enabling practices use consistent coding and should bring real benefits to practices and PCNs looking to make access improvements. Consistency use of appointment categories will increase the benefit of any workload measurement tool, as well as allowing for shared learning across practices and PCNs, and help demonstrate the value of general practices services.
The Transforming Primary Care Team and Imperial College Health Partners have undertaken a project to look at available workload measurement tools. This involved a market scan of available products, stakeholder engagement with GPs, Practice Managers, workload measurement tool providers and end users. The outcomes are of this project are summarised here. For further information or feedback please contact (add TPC HLP generic email address here).