Improving for our patients

We want to improve.

Every week, Dr Daniel, Christina, Josh and Ralph sit down and we think about ways we can improve the practice. Some small things, some big things, some things we need to apply consistently and some things we need to stop.

Every two weeks Dr Daniel and the clinical team meet to discuss some issues directly relevant to patient care, discuss how to manage cases better, share our resources and work as a team to make the clinic better.

But sometimes we need your help to know where we can improve as well. 

Earlier this year we sent a feedback survey to patients that had visited Green Square Health the most in the previous year, and while we were delighted with the positive feedback we want to focus solely on the areas we can continue to improve. I’ve listed them below, and also detailed what we’re doing about them.

Caveat – this survey was run during times of increased COVID mitigations and vaccinations – so there was the outdoor waiting policy, increased telehealth, and increased cleaning between patients with more heavy duty PPE use.

“I am able to see a doctor quickly when I need to”

Only 27% of people gave us 5 out of 5 stars for this. For reference GP clinics across the board received 44%.

Following this feedback we reached out to the GP community and asked if anyone who was aligned with our values wanted to come and work with us. Since then we’ve had some fantastic GPs join the team, and it has tremendously opened up availability.

We know it can be difficult to get into the exact GP you want at the exact time, but sharing resources like we do, with all the GPs being able to access your file and visit information (with your permission when you are present), we can continue to provide excellent continuity of care in a timely fashion.

We’re also in the process of expanding our clinic with more consulting rooms so we can continue to grow with the community and their needs.

One measure used in general practice to know if we are available enough, is the ‘days until 3rd next available appointment’.

We know the next available, and the one after that can be taken up really quickly, so its good to know for each doctor when the 3rd next available appointment is. And once it gets over a few days, we try to make sure we have enough available ‘on the day’ slots that can be filled in after our nurses have triaged the reason for a consultation.


Time until third next available appointment

As at 8am, Monday the 28th of November

“Everything ran on time”

Only 30% of people gave us 5 stars on this. For reference, GP clinics across the board received 36%.

Probably the most frustrating thing about visiting the doctor is that you wait. In some cases unavoidable, but in most cases it can be better. And we want to make it better.

There are a few things we do to ensure we minimise the wait time for patients attending our clinic.

  1. Appropriate appointment lengths of 30 minutes for new patients, mental health care consults, childhood development and immunisation, cervical screening, and the option to book longer appoints if you have a few things to discuss. 15 minutes reserved for single issues.
  2. Appropriate number of catch up appointments set by the practitioners – they know how their day will run, and will put in catch up slots to ensure they can get everything done if running a bit over time
  3. Having more practitioners available (see the topic above this one)
  4. Phoning patients ahead of time if it looks like your doctor will be running a bit late – this might not always help you, but being aware makes it a bit nicer
  5. Sending reminder text to patients about their appointment time

Above is a snapshot from our analytics software Cubiko. It shows our practice on the left, compared to practices who use Cubiko in the Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN).

Patient wait time is from the time of arrival at the clinic, until the doctor opens your file and calls you into the room. If you come 5 minutes early to your appointment, and your doctor sees you right on time, this will still be 5 minutes.

Diary wait time is from the time of your scheduled appointment. If you arrive 5 minutes early, and your doctor sees you at 12:01 for a 12:00 appointment, this is shown as 1 minute.

Sometimes you will be an outlier to the averages above. All we can do is apologise and continue to try be better. We know time is precious, and waiting for the doctor is anxiety proviking and frustrating. I promise we will keep prioritising the list of points mentioned above and continue to strive for reducing wait times.

“It is easy to make an appointment for a day and time that suits me”

33% of our patients gave us 5 starts for this. GP clinics in general received 48%.

This was a trickier one at the start of the year. With the added time taken to see patients with respiratory symptoms in a safe manner, it did eat up more consultation time on our books than we’d like, for what would be a simpler visit in years gone by. But for good reason – during this time there was no transmission of COVID at our clinic despite still seeing patients who needed to be seen. It meant we could continue to provide a service that some clinics weren’t able to for various reasons.

But it’s one we’ve always tried to improve.

There are two elements to this I believe

  1. Making a booking when you have the time to sit down and decide you need to see the doctor
  2. An appointment being available for when it suits you, with the doctor or nurse you want to see

For the first point, having online bookings has been a godsend. People can head online to our website at any time, or use the hotdoc app to see when our next available appointment is and book any time, day or night. Your baby has a fever at 1am? You can go online and book for the next day. Bad reflux after a late night snack that just seems worse than normal? Book online for an appointment tomorrow. Not sure when you might be free for your annual check up? Look ahead on our books and book for a time that suits you just right.

And if you prefer to speak to one of our reception staff, we are always trying to increase the number working during peak booking times to ensure they can help you get an appointment with the right person at the right time.

For the second point, we are trying as the first two topics mentioned above. One important aspect, particularly for non urgent and more planned issues such as chronic disease care, management of longstanding medications, immunisations for travel health – we encourage you to try book forward as early as possible. You can always shift an appointment if needed (as long as its not within 2 hours of that appointment), and if at the last minute you can’t physically make it in to the clinic we always have video and telephone telehealth options.

If you have an existing issue that needs a referral (to someone we have referred to in the past for you, or have discussed this referral with you), you can apply for an online referral request. If you need medication in the next 72 hours and it’s for something we’ve provided a script before, we can provide you with a prescription.

But again, by increasing our availability we hope to be able to better serve the community’s needs.

More feedback

We always want to hear how we can do better, so we encourage you to contact us. Speak to our front desk staff, call us and ask to speak to the practice manager, or email us at [email protected]

In the coming months we’ll send a focused feedback form again and hope to see where else we might be able to improve our offerings. Thanks for always trusting us, and thanks for helping us get better all the time!

Dr Daniel Chanisheff