Last review date 03/02/2023

1. Communication needs

Since August 2016 there has been a legal requirement to follow the Accessible Information Standard. Practices are required  to;

1.1 Ask patients and record

"Ask patients if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs. Record those needs clearly and in a set way." 

This can be achieved by using the 'Communication Needs' template which can be accessed from 'Auto consultations > Ardens General > Communication Needs' or from the 'Reception & Administration' template.

1.2 Flagging records 

"Highlight or flag the patients record so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how to meet those needs. Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it."

Records coded via the above template will have a patient status alert indicating that they have a communication need and by clicking on the 'Action' link the template will open. At the bottom of the template you can see what has previously been recorded.

2. Preferred Contact Method

From 1st April 2019 it became a contractual requirement wherever practical to send invites etc. to patients by their preferred contact method. Depending on how staff record consents etc. this can be quite difficult to achieve. 

By selecting a preferred contact method in SystmOne it doesn't automatically apply the consent so when staff record a preferred contact method they should also record the relevant consent as well.  

Practices have to take a commonsense approach to this though as often when sending out the first invite or other communications there is a need to do this by letter so that more information can be included. Patients need also to be made aware that if they wish to receive appointment reminders by SMS then their preferred method of contact needs to be SMS.  

2.1 Recording new communication preferences

If a patient does not have consent recorded for email or SMS you will see this symbol  under the patient demographics which when you click on it opens the 'Patient Contact Details' template.  From here you can record by code SMS and Email consent and access the SystmOne 'Telephone + Email'  window to record the preferred method of communication. This template is also accessible from the 'Reception & Administration' template. 

Please note: Many practices have the  symbol on their toolbars for easy access and that is great but it doesn't allow staff to quickly and easy record coded consents which the above template does. 

3 Updating existing entries 

3.1 Preferred method

There are a number of reports available which can be accessed at 'Ardens > Administration > Preferred contact method' these cover a variety of scenarios. 

The first 3 '?Assess' reports  can be used to update records, for example - preferred contact method of Email but there is no email consent recorded. 

Any patients that appear in these reports will potentially cause problems when trying to send invites etc. so these should be reviewed and patients contacted to update their records fully.  

3.2 Communication needs

Equally as important are patients with communication needs to meet the 'Accessible Information Standards'. There are a number of reports available which can be accessed at 'Ardens > Registers > Communication Needs' these also cover a variety of scenarios.

The first 2 '?Assess' reports  can be used to update records, for example a patient who has a communication need coded but no method of contact has been recorded. These should be reviewed and patients contacted to update their records fully so that the data meets all the requirements of the  'Accessible Information Standards'.

4 Sending LTC invites

4.1 LTC Invitations 

The LTC invite reports now have additional reports for each month to show which patients have a communication need and who has a preferred method of communication recorded. 


4.2 Report Output

There are occasions where a report will mention to use a report output, for example -  '?Assess communication needs - has a communication need recorded but no method of 'Requires Contact By' (use report output 'Communication need')

To use a report output you must first run the report then; 

  • Right click and 'Show patients'
  • Click on 'Select Output' from the top of the screen
  • Select 'Pre-defined report output' 
  • Highlight 'Communication need' 
  • Click 'Ok' 

You can then see which patients require a telephone call, large font etc.