Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Increasing numbers of blood tests are being ordered in primary care settings and the swift and accurate communication of test results is central to providing high quality care. The process of testing and result communication is complex and reliant on the coordinated actions of care providers, external groups in laboratory and hospital settings, and patients. This fragmentation leaves it vulnerable to error and the need to improve an apparently fallible system is apparent. However, primary care is complex and does not necessarily adopt change in a linear and prescrib ed manner influenced by a range of factors relating to practice staff, patients and organisational factors. To account for these competing perspectives, we worked in conjunction with both staff and patients to develop and implement strategies intended to improve patient satisfaction and increase efficiency of existing processes. Methods: The study applied the principles of 'experience-based co-design' to identify key areas of weakness and source proposals for change from staff and patients. The study was undertaken within two primary practices situated in South Birmingham (UK) of contrasting size and socio-economic environment. Senior practice staff were involved in the refinement of the interventions for introduction. We conducted focus groups singly constituted of staff and patients at each practice to determine suitability, applicability and desirability alongside the practical implications of their introduction. Results: At each practice four of the six proposals for change were implemented these were increased access to phlebotomy, improved receptionist training, proactive communication of results, and increased patient awareness of the tests ordered and the means of their communication. All were received favourably by both patients and staff. The remaining issues around the management of telephone calls and the introduction of electronic alerts for missing results were not addressed due to constraints of time and available resources. Conclusions: Approaches to tackling the same area of weakness differed at practices and was determined by individual staff attitudes and by organisational and patient characteristics. The long-term impact of the changes requires further quantitative evaluation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/s12913-017-2566-8

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMC Health Services Research

Publication Date

30/08/2017

Volume

17